Academic Motivation and Group Belongingness of Regular and Irregular Students

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CHAPTER I
THE PROBLEM AND ITS SCOPE

Rationale of the Study

Many educational researchers agree that the need for belonging is one of the most important needs of all for students to function well in all types of learning environments (Connell & Well Born, 1991; Deci & Ryan, 1991; Finn, 1989; Osterman, 2000). The feeling of belonging may have a direct and powerful influence on students’ motivation (Goodenow, 1993). For example, perceived support and the sense of belonging are expected to increase students beliefs in their success and accordingly to increase their academic motivation. In fact, studies consistently reveal that when students experience a sense of belonging in educational environments, they are more motivated, more engaged in school and classroom activities and more dedicated to school (Osterman, 2000). Moreover, existing research suggests that students who feel that they belong to a learning environment report higher enjoyment, enthusiasm, happiness, interest, and more confidence in engaging in learning activities, whereas those who feel isolated report greater anxiety, boredom, frustration, and sadness during the academic engagement that directly affects academic performance (Furrer & Skinner, 2003).

Maslow (1971) believed that most adjustment and emotional illness in our society could be traced to the failure to gratify the basic human need for belonging. Students who exhaust their energies attempting to meet this deficiency have no reserves left for higher level cognitive function. Another theory from Adler (1939) also believed that failure in school usually slimmed from feeling unconnected to the teacher, other students in the school, and community.

Being an irregular student has advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is having to deal with different classmates from one subject to another. Thus it is difficult for them to develop new ties and make friends. Oftentimes, they do things by themselves. Most of the irregular students are older

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