New Insights into Young Peoples' Motivation in Lower Secondary Education in Denmark

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In this article we explore and develop the understanding of young people’s motives for (non)participation in lower secondary education. Based on a two-year study dominated by qualitative and explorative methods, we combine a focus on young peoples’ motives and goal orientations with a socio-cultural (and social constructivist) understanding of motivation/learning (Wenger, 1998; Wertsch, 1994). This combination allows us to explore the dynamic complexity of pupils’ motives for participation in school and look into how motivation is produced in the interplay between individual goals and motives and the learning climate within the school context (Ames, 1992; Dowson & McInerney, 2003; Maehr & Zusho, 2009; Jackson, 2006; Lemos, 2001). In the article, we identify key motivational orientations as they unfold in the social and learning processes that take place in the learning contexts young people are part of. As a mean to synthesise and highlight the complexities at play we introduce a situated model that visualises our results.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalQualitative Research in Education
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)60-88
Number of pages29
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2019


  • motivation
  • goal theory
  • learning context
  • young people
  • education
  • lower secondary school


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