Examining Relationships Between Activities We Use to Engage Students in Learning and Their Attitudes Toward Science
Dolenc, Nathan, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Tai, Robert, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
Student engagement has been positively linked to academic achievement (Finn & Rock, 1997), persistence between grade levels (Kuh et. al. 2008), positive attitude toward school (Cothran & Ennis, 2000), and self-concept of ability in the classroom (Fullarton, 2002). One area of student engagement is a teacher implementing a type of learning activity in their classroom (Bonwell & Sutherland, 1996). If science teachers implement learning activities students prefer to engage in, students may also increase their attitude toward science.
The purpose of this study is to explore relationships between student reported preferences in learning activities and their attitudes toward science. Learning activities used to engage students were organized into seven groups that established a conceptual framework called the Framework for the Observation of Categorization of Instructional Strategies (FOCIS) (Tai, 2013). The research questions that will be addressed in this study are:
1. Do student reported preferences in learning activities predict student reported positive attitudes toward science at the elementary, middle, and high school grade levels?
2. Do these relationships differ across elementary, middle, and high school grade levels?
3. Do these relationships change between the Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters within a single academic year for students across elementary, middle, and high school grade levels?
Results showed those students who reported having a preference for discovering types of activities (i.e. researching, experimenting, finding new knowledge), significantly predicted a positive value of science in society, self-concept, and enjoyment and desire attitudes toward science at the elementary, middle school, and high school grade levels in the Fall 2012 and in the Spring 2013.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
science education, student engagement, classroom activities
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