Commitment to one’s studies as a factor of success: A concept not so easy to grasp
When I was teaching in the French department at Cégep de Sainte- Foy, I was intrigued by a reason frequently cited by my colleagues to explain the poor quality of learning achieved by some of their students: the lack of commitment to their studies. However, to my mind, although seemingly simple and reasonable, this explanation seemed to signify extremely variable realities depending on who put forth the explanation. My questioning, which originated from observations in my work environment, was fuelled by the results of a survey undertaken by the Conseil Supérieur de l'Éducation on the conditions for success at college. According to students who participated in this survey, encouragement from their teachers, their passion, their ability to pique the students’ curiosity and “to connect with students and their life experiences” are among the various factors that stimulate and foster their commitment toward studies. Discussions among my colleagues and comments made by students in a Conseil Supérieur de l'Éducation survey left me unsatisfied. All seemed to insist on the need for commitment to ensure successful studies, but no one seemed to be able to clearly define or describe the scope of this commitment. In the current context where colleges are searching for ways to improve student success, it seemed useful to clear up the ambiguity surrounding the meaning of commitment to one’s studies. I undertook some research. My objective was not to define commitment to studies, but rather to identify the representation teachers have of this commitment, and more specifically, those teaching French3. I hoped that this knowledge would allow us to better target our interventions with students and, in so doing, contribute in a modest way to their greater success.
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