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Students’ Motivation in Pre-vocational Secondary Education: A Comparative Study of Mainstream and Bilingual Schools in the Netherlands

This study was conducted to investigate the motivational differences between students from bilingual and mainstream education. In the Netherlands most students will go to pre-vocational education after they finished their primary education. This group, however, also faces many challenges as they reveal a higher incidence in behavioral issues and are less motivated than students from other educational tracks. Research has shown that the bilingual educational approach Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) has many advantages, one of which being the enhancement of students’ motivation. Yet, research focusing on bilingual pre-vocational education is scarce. This study examines the motivational differences between two educational contexts, gender differences, and the motivational behavior across the years.

Results showed that students from bilingual education were significantly more motivated than students from mainstream education. Boys from bilingual education were also more motivated than boys from mainstream education, with the exception of their attitude towards foreign languages. Similarly, girls from bilingual education outperformed their peers in mainstream education. However, there was no significant difference found in the influence of societal expectations on motivational behavior, nor the naturalistic learning environment. Also, there is no gender gap found in both educational settings, with one exception in regard of the attitudes toward foreign languages. Girls from bilingual education have a significantly more positive attitude toward foreign languages than the boys in this educational setting. Finally, bilingual students put greater emphasis on studying English as a foreign language because they need it for their future. This is apparent throughout the years. Also, both groups reveal that as they turn older, they put less value on their formal learning environment.

Last modified:24 July 2020 4.19 p.m.
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