Engineering Mathematics Learning in a Singapore Polytechnic: a Grounded Theory Approach.
2008-10-29T16:02:28Z (GMT) by
This study generates a substantive theory of how engineering students approach engineering mathematics learning in a polytechnic in Singapore. This thesis adopts a symbolic interactionist perspective and engages grounded theory methodology in its investigation. The main source of data comes from a series of in-depth face to face interviews with a group of 21 engineering students in the case Polytechnic. This is supplemented by data gathered from the students’ reflection journals and informal interviews with their teachers. The first major outcome of this study is the generation of the theory of Selective Intentionality in engineering mathematics learning that describes how engineering students approach mathematics learning through a series of socio-psychological processes. The core category in this study is the category of intending that is surrounded by the other four categories of gathering, analysing, actualising and regulating. Another major outcome that arises from this study is the development of a typology of students with regards to how they experience and manage mathematics learning in their engineering courses in the case Polytechnic. The typology is based on the predominant distinctions among the participants according to their responses in the analysing, intending, actualising and regulating processes in the theory of Selective Intentionality. Accordingly, the students may be broadly classified into five types of learners: idealistic learners, competitive learners, pragmatic learners, fatalistic learners and dissonant learners. In short, this study provides a fresh perspective on how engineering students approach mathematics learning that is very important in their courses. At the same time, it has implications for the development of theory, practice and future research.