Jimmy Karttunen, Robert Janícek and Saeko Yoshida
Following on from the discussion of school ethos, this chapter by Learning School 1 students probes more deeply into students' views of their schools, their liking for schools, their sources of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and their general motivational level. This is a valuable contribution to our understanding of student motivation through comparisons of high and low motivated students and the range of attitudes to class work and homework, to teaching approaches and learning styles which are associated with that. The similarities between two schools of very different types and in very different countries are striking. The differences also raise important questions. Gender differences in and out of school are also explored in both countries and again some of the constants pose questions about issues that lie deeper than the individual school or classroom and its power to shape human beings.
There were 100 questionnaires circulated around the school and 69 of them came back to us to be processed. From these a variety of viewpoints have arisen. For us, who have seen different educational systems and schools, the atmosphere in this school seemed a bit more tense than elsewhere but the view of this school from the students came across as very positive. It seems that the school creates a good working environment; 65 per cent of students said that they liked school and not one of the 69 answered that he or she hated the school. We also asked about motivation and found three groups - the highly motivated, the quite motivated and the unmotivated. These responses, shown in Figure 13.1, refer to a general feeling about school work but obviously fluctuate with different lessons, different teachers, different contexts.
There was no difference in attitudes to school between females and males, and when it came to motivation, there were also no gender differences. We have seen from other data that the motivation of boys is often lower than that of girls. In Sweden, for example, we found that boys were not as motivated as girls but this was not the case here.
These general data on students' feelings and motivation may be taken as very positive but it must be stressed that these are overall opinions. In further