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Investigating the pre-service teachers’ motivation and learning strategies and their impact on academic performance: an explanatory study of physical sciences specialization pre-service teachers at a tertiary institution in South Africa.

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The purpose of this study was to provide the current status of the Self-regulated learning constructs; motivation and learning strategies of pre-service teachers majoring in Physical Science education specialisation and the impact these constructs have on academic performance. This purpose was met, through using a mixed methods approach within the pragmatic paradigm to answer three research questions. Two types of data collection instruments (surveys and interviews) were used sequentially to collect quantitative and qualitative data respectively. It was found that positive motivation profiles and frequent use of cognitive learning strategies had a positive impact on the academic performance of successful science students. Majority of the participating students were found to lack use of metacognitive learning strategies and resource management strategies, which is a great course for concern and possibly one of the main causes of the problems leading to superficial conceptual understanding and poor academic performance in South Africa. The findings of this study were not intended for generalising, hence they are specific to the context of pre-service teachers majoring in Physical Science education specialisation at tertiary institutions in South Africa and similar contexts. This study has potential to inform instruction towards assisting the Universities to produce Physical Sciences teachers who are motivated and who possess good teaching practices. It also has the potential to make a contribution to South African research on Self-regulated learning and academic achievement, which has been found to be minimal.


Master of Education in Education Studies. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban 2016.


Physical science--Study and teaching., Motivation in education., Academic support programmes., Theses--Education.