The influence of teaching satisfaction on student persistence
Keywords:student persistence, student retention, active learning, teaching
This paper examines the influence of satisfaction with teaching experiences on students’ intentions to persist. The research is relevant as the influence of an individual educator’s teaching practice on student persistence has at this point been undervalued (Demaris and Kritsonis, 2008). Furthermore, the classroom experience of students has an increasing importance with greater student diversity (Hunt, 2010; Fleming et al., 2010). Literature supports the viewpoint that teaching approaches that are satisfying and inclusive for the student body including active learning can influence student persistence (Zepke et al., 2006; Pascarella and Terenzini, 2005; Laing and Robinson, 2003; Braxton et al., 2000). A mixed-methods case study utilising a questionnaire (n=84) as well as five focus groups and twenty-eight interviews were undertaken. A moderate to strong correlation between satisfying teaching experiences and educational commitment was found (rS=.56). Qualitative data provided additional supporting evidence for the quantitative finding. Furthermore, the social nature of active learning was identified as an influence on the social integration of students which in turn has been linked to student persistence (Braxton et al., 2000; Tinto, 1993). The implications of this research are clear in outlining support for the role of teaching and active learning as an influence on student persistence. This is an important addition to the current body of knowledge on student persistence and a development of the research literature in an Irish context.
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