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Enhancing study practices: Are first year students "resistant to change"?

Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift
Författare Lorenzo Woollacott
Shirley Booth
Ann Cameron
Publicerad i Journal of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Volym 115
Nummer/häfte 12
Sidor 1199-1205
ISSN 0038-223X
Publiceringsår 2015
Publicerad vid Institutionen för didaktik och pedagogisk profession
Sidor 1199-1205
Språk en
Länkar dx.doi.org/10.17159/2411-9717/2015/...
Ämnesord engineering education, first-year education, resistance to change, study practices, study skills, student retention.
Ämneskategorier Didaktik

Sammanfattning

One of the strategies for trying to reduce attrition among first-year students and for improving their academic performance generally is to include some kind of study skills module in the first-year programme. One of the reasons often given for the relative lack of success of such programmes is the claim that students are ‘resistant to change’. This paper presents a study that investigated this claim by interviewing chemical and metallurgical engineering students in a South African university at the beginning and end of their first year. The basis for evaluating the extent to which students’ practices appeared to change was a set of six categories of practice identified in a related phenomenographic study on the learning practices of the same students. It was evident from the interview data that even where some change in practice had occurred, the extent of change was somewhat disappointing. For those who reported changing their practice, the primary change driver appeared to be underperformance in the mid-year exam. Underperformance prior to that seemed to exert less force and students did not appear to give very serious attention to class or textual input/activities on study practices. ‘Resistance to change’ appeared to be implicit in nature and to be more a consequence of overconfidence and the ‘momentum’ resulting from habit rather than an explicit attitudinal resistance. Keywords engineering education, first-year education, resistance to change, study practices, study skills, student retention.

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