A survey of motivational factors in the learning behaviour of students in Ho Polytechnic

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The effectiveness of student’s learning is considered a highly important yardstick for measuring teaching quality. This study conducted at Ho Polytechnic advocates the use of action research to investigate the teaching and learning situation as experienced by students. Several research studies reveal it is easier to teach students when they are motivated. However, motivation remains the number one problem of teaching at all levels of education. At the tertiary level especially, designing instructional techniques for students of difference background and varying abilities is not an easy task. A specially designed questionnaire with a strategy and a motive component triangulated against other qualitative methods has provided the necessary data for analysis. Factors contributing highly to student learning have been identified: students’ expectations of their teachers, the characteristics of students and the range of practices/techniques that constitute good practice and promote reflective professionalism. The top ten factors that would most encourage students to learn were; getting good grades, a well-organized lecturer, ambition to do well, encouragement from parents, knowledge of progress, active participation in class, examples and stories in a lecturer’s explanation, a lively lecturer, outside visits and field trips, and a highly innovative lecturer, The top ten factors that most discourage students from learning were performing badly in tests and assignments, dictation of passages from textbooks in class, independent study, informal contacts with lecturers, warning of possible failure in course, being required to listen attentively and take down own notes, dictation of lecturer’s detailed notes in class, frequent tests, written assignments for individual students, and humour in class It is recommended teachers should plan their lessons to integrate essential study skills with the teaching of their subjects. Teachers need to prepare well for each class especially the first day of class. Teachers should vary their methods of teaching and not rely solely on the traditional approach. Students must be encouraged to be active in class.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Kwarne Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the degree of Master of Technical Education, 2002