A critical analysis of students' attitudes to learning in Further Education , with particular reference to key skills application of number.
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff
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In all areas of life, there are many roots of people's attitudes and many consequences to them. In an educational context the sources and effects of attitudes to learning are just as numerous and far-reaching. This piece of work is set in an F.E. college and investigates learner attitudes. It aims to analyse attitudes to education in general, to learning in mathematics and key skills application of number in particular and also to students' preferred learning methods and styles in mathematics and mathematical study. The ínvestigation was carried out by combining quantitative and qualitative research. lnitial enquiry was in the form of a questionnaire to groups of learners across different vocations and years, with the data being analysed mathematically. The investigation was followed up by semi-structured interviews as the research focussed on a sample of the groups who answered the questionnaire. A large disparity was observed between the data generated by questionnaire and that from the interviews. The questionnaire data also differs greatly from personal teaching experience and was shown to be based upon what respondents believed to be socially desirable answers. The interviews yielded much more in terms of variety and depth. The research shows that students have a utilitarian view of education as a preparation for the world of work or even just as a tool to aid the entry into employment. The learners see mathematics, other than basic arithmetical skills, as largely irrelevant, unnecessary and undesirable and víew little benefit in participating in its study. The respondents' attitudes and their view of themselves as passive consumers within the world of education restrict the ways Ín which they learn. They prefer to follow task based activities and would rather shy away from more interactive learning styles and this has hampered their growth as independent learners.
MA Pcet Thesis
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