A study in general education: How a field trip for Chinese tea tasting motivates students’ learning
Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong
One challenge of teaching a general education (GE) course to non-majors is how to motivate their learning. This study demonstrates that an appropriate activity carried out in a new learning environment can play an important role in sparking student interest. As part of a GE course entitled, Health Maintenance and Food Therapy in Chinese Medicine (HMFTCM), a field trip for Chinese tea tasting (FTCTT) was conducted as an optional activity. Tea drinking is both a common daily activity and a therapeutic regimen in Chinese medicine; thus it seemed to be a good bridge between ordinary life and the academic environment, and well consistent with the topic of the course. The field trip was held in a teahouse off campus; students were divided into small groups to learn about and taste various teas, and to share experiences. Motivated Strategies of Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) was used to test students’ learning motivation before and after the activity. Comparison of learning motivation of a control group (students in another GE course called “Medicine and disease”) and the experimental group before the field trip showed no differences; however, there were significant differences after it. Within the experimental group, students’ learning motivation increased significantly after the field trip. Thus results show that a carefully planned, meaningful field trip can give students personal experience that would confirm their theoretical understanding. The results of this study support the theory that active learning can positively influence students’ learning motivation in GE courses.