Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Understanding Low Motivation of Tribal Students in Learning Context: Scope of Cultural- Historical Approach in Psychology

Academic journal article Indian Journal of Positive Psychology

Understanding Low Motivation of Tribal Students in Learning Context: Scope of Cultural- Historical Approach in Psychology

Article excerpt

The concept of motivation has been given a pivotal place in the learning activities. It is considered as an integral part of the learning process as it mediates the consistency of the learners' engagement. Taking the academic problems of tribal students in India as a case, this theoretical paper attempts to critically evaluate the scope of existing theories of motivation to understand cross-cultural learning context and tojoin with the new approaches that are developing from the cultural-historical tradition in psychology. Initially, the paper discusses the motivational problems of tribal students as they engage in learning processes and the approaches of major schools and other significant thoughts on motivation are briefed and critically evaluated on the basis of their capability to deal with the present problem. The paper then proceeds to enquire the scope of culturalhistorical approach to motivation, and finally it engages these problems from the point of view of the proposed approach.

Tribal people comprise 8.2% of the total population of India. Studies that deal with the academic problems of tribal students noted their low motivation or disinterest to engage in learning processes and tried to understand it in various perspectives (Isac, 2011, Shah, 1979). This has been understood as one of the key reasons that lead to their poor academic performance, drop-outs etc. Sometimes even it creates a faulty impression in our public consciousness that government money is wasted over the tribes by attempting them to be educated. Tribal communities have the highest dropout rates among all other social groups. The dropout rate of tribal students in the Primary, upper primary and secondary stages of education for the year 2004-05 were 42.3%, 65.9% and 79.0% respectively (Government of India, 2007). This indicates that the rate increases as the level of education increases. Hence this should be looked at going beyond the socio-economic framework extending to a cultural framework and also trying to look at the psychological processes happening at the individual level when a child undergoes in the process of education. Why do a group of students, in spite of being given better facilities for schooling, are not adequately motivated to learn is a grave issue to be addressed.

Tribal communities and their culture

The tribal communities in India had been basically a hunter-gatherer society till recently. They had met their livelihood mainly by collecting food materials directly from forest and by doing some agriculture. They followed barter system and exchanged these collected materials for other materials that they lack with the nontribal society. The gradual encroachment of non- tribal society resulted in losing their livelihood that was dependent on forest and they were forced to do manual jobs under the ownership of these people. This is the situation that made their engagement with the other societies. It is in the recent past only that the tribal communities started to engage with the other communities profoundly. Many scholars have pointed out that the tribal societies in India have their own history and culture and heritage. In that sense it has its own uniqueness like other societies in India. Their life and culture has close linkages to the forest.

Louis (2000) says that tribal societies in India have their own heritage of cultural, religious, social, economical, and political structures transmitting from generations for centuries. This heritage is reflected in their myths, stories and songs. Nature and ecology play a central role in their life. Tribal have established a symbiotic relationship within nature and build up their social, economic, and religious lives. The history of tribal have been one of exploitation as the plain men through force took away hard labour and disposed them of their livelihood, culture and religion. Sen and Lalhrietpui (2006) observes the geographical, ecological and cultural linkage of tribal communities to the forest. …

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