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Motivational variations when implementing a student-teacher-scientist partnership in the science classroom
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education. (UmSER)
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Authentic projects, where students meet, visit or work as scientists, are getting more common in schools. Little is known about the implementation of such projects and what effect the implementation has on students’ experiences and outcomes. This paper presents a study of twelve students in three classes that participate in same student-teacher-scientist partnership (STSP) in their Swedish secondary-science classrooms. The study includes three levels: the resources the teachers have, the opportunities for motivation through competence, autonomy and relatedness students are given, and students’ initiatives, group work and outcomes. The purpose of this study is to explore the process with which an authentic project is implemented in the science classroom and how the implementation can contribute to student motivation. The results show that all teachers spend the main part of lesson time with student-centred activities and that they all give opportunities for feelings of competence, autonomy and relatedness, but that they do it to different extent. Most students take initiatives towards science and/or procedure, have good dynamics of group work and have good outcomes. No clear patterns between students’ contextual motivation and their initiatives, group work or outcomes were seen, however, students in classrooms with high support were more able to overcome issues and succeed with the task. It can be concluded that the implementation is a key step when introducing authentic science in school and that it is both possible and advisable to design authentic science activities that can be part of the curriculum and reach a broad group of students. However, a good balance between novelty in topic and methods -through for example autonomy- and support, -through for example clear instructions and procedural support- should be a key component in the implementation, especially to support less self-regulated students. Implications for STSPs and similar authentic projects, as well as for other classroom situations, are discussed. 

Keyword [en]
authentic science, secondary school, motivation, self-determination theory, student-teacher-scientist partnership
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
educational work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120041OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-120041DiVA: diva2:926627
Projects
Lärandesituationens påverkan på elevers affektiva upplevelser och lärande
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3216
Available from: 2016-05-09 Created: 2016-05-05 Last updated: 2016-05-11
In thesis
1. Students as scientists: a study of motivation in the science classroom
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Students as scientists: a study of motivation in the science classroom
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Forskning på schemat : högstadieelevers motivation för naturvetenskap
Abstract [en]

School science and mathematics have been criticized for being difficult, de-contextualised and teacher-centred. This thesis concerns student motivation in science and mathematics in secondary school, and in particular student motivation in relation to student-teacher-scientist partnerships (STSPs) and an authentic science task called the Medicine Hunt where students help scientists to find new antibiotics. The purpose of this dissertation is to interrogate the importance of authentic tasks for motivation in the science classroom. The thesis takes a starting point in motivation theories, with self-determination theory (SDT) in focus, and also builds on the hierarchical model of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation (HMIEM). A mixed-methods approach is used first, to find out what factors are important for students’ positive emotions and experiences in the classroom, and second, to learn more about the importance of authentic tasks using student interviews and observations in combination with questionnaires that evaluate students’ motivation. The studies reveal that the notion of having learnt something and intrinsic motivation are central for students’ positive emotions. Further, many situational factors, such as teacher support, autonomy, clear goals, and novelty of the task are central for both positive emotions and experiences in science and mathematics. Regarding the Medicine Hunt, students were positive and referred most of their positive experiences to science-related aspects, and the novelty of authentic science. Teachers gave different opportunities for competence, autonomy or relatedness when implementing the project in their classrooms, and these differences were more important for students’ initiatives and outcomes than students’ initial contextual motivation for school science. Students’ contextual motivation for science can change and the Medicine Hunt arrested the well-documented decline in students’ intrinsic motivation for science during the secondary school years. This thesis argues that authentic tasks implemented as STSPs such as the Medicine Hunt can contribute considerably to school science by providing motivating situations that channel students’ positive emotions and positive experiences, and that is possible to create authentic science learning situations in which both more and less motivated students can flourish. The findings highlight the teachers’ role in supporting the students’ process of extending their understanding of what science can include and in supporting students’ confidence as they adopt a broader and more authentic view of science when learning as part of a successful authentic STSP science project. The findings also suggest that more research focussing on motivation in different authentic situations, and how students’ experiences of authentic science can affect motivation in the longer term, is needed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2016. 58 p.
Series
Doktorsavhandlingar i pedagogiskt arbete, ISSN 1650-8858 ; 65
Keyword
motivation, emotions, experiences, authentic science, student-teacher-scientist partnership, secondary school, implementation, classroom, mathematics, self-determination theory
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
didactics of natural science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-120123 (URN)978-91-7601-477-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-06-02, KB3A9, KBC-huset, Linnaeus väg 6, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Projects
Lärandesituationens påverkan på elevers affektiva upplevelser och lärande
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2007-3216
Available from: 2016-05-12 Created: 2016-05-09 Last updated: 2016-05-26Bibliographically approved

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