This exploratory qualitative case study investigates how graduate students in education experience, attribute, and combat academic boredom. Three areas of concern are addressed: (a) the contributing factors to boredom, (b) how attributional style (internal vs. external) relates to coping with boredom, and (c) the differences between combating class-related boredom and learning-related boredom. Results showed that the onset of boredom was mostly influenced by a lack of interest, lack of utility value, and autonomy frustration. This study extended the existing literature by discovering an interaction between students’ attributional style and their coping strategies for boredom during classroom instruction. Specifically, students who argued that the instructor should hold more responsibility for boredom in class tended to take avoidance coping as their primary strategy (e.g., doodling). By comparison, students who opted to approach the problem positively (e.g., taking notes) are prone to attribute internally. Attribution does not appear to have a mediating effect on the relationship between experience of boredom and coping strategies for learning-related boredom. Implications for graduate and adult education and findings in the context of recent theoretical frameworks are discussed.
Adult Learning – SAGE
Published: Jan 1, 2021