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Title: Motivating students to achieve in a vocational services sector programme within further education
Author: George, D. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 9358
Awarding Body: University of the West of England
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores learning motivation in a vocational further education setting, and investigates whether and why learners may not be achieving as highly as expected. The purpose of this study was to explore a learner’s transition into further education (FE) and the impact of their past educational and life experiences on their motivation to learn. A form of life course research was used to explore why some learners fail to reach their minimum expected grade profiles, as indicated by value added data, and appear to leave further education without achieving as highly as expected. A detailed study of what goes on in practice at programme level to enhance the progress made by the learner provides a rounded study of learning motivation. This study uses a qualitative case study methodology and a form of life course research. A desk based interrogation of policy literature and the construction of policy across macro (national), meso and micro levels sets the context of study. Semi-structured interviews with ten BTEC National Extended Public Services students were used to form partial life stories that were analysed using Pierre Bourdieu’s concepts of ‘capital’, and ‘field’. Classroom observations of teaching and learning practices explore what is going on in practice. The findings detail a wide ranging number of factors that can attribute to learning motivation. These include ‘emotional factors’ such as the influence of peers, parents and teachers, the approach and personality of the teacher, and critical incidents at various points in a learner’s education. In addition, there are ‘cultural factors’ such as religion, perception of the value of qualifications, assessment preferences, and cultures associated with FE. Whilst the data highlighted sub-themes pertinent to the broader emotional and cultural factors that may impact learner motivation, these findings also present the diverse and individualistic nature of learning and learner motivation. The discussion illustrates the multifaceted and complex nature of learning motivation and highlights the importance of social structure in the development and maintenance of learning cultures. More specifically, the discussion highlights the importance of significant others and the reciprocal nature of emotional investment in education. A range of conceptual models are introduced to help teachers and managers understand the complex and multifaceted nature of learning motivation providing useful tools for curriculum design and intervention. These models can help teachers and managers to understand the key capital transactions and transubstantiations between learners, parents, teachers, and peers from a Bourdeusian perspective thus understanding the value of various capitals (namely cultural and emotional) and how they interact within the network of fields that are at play at the educational site.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available