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Title: Engaging young people with science through communities of scientific enquiry: a mixed methods evaluation
Author: Dunlop, Lynda
Awarding Body: University of Ulster
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis reports on the design, development, use and evaluation of a teaching strategy to engage young people in Northern Ireland with science. The research began in 2008 against the backdrop of a radically changed school curriculum in which science was no longer compulsory beyond age 14. At the same time, concerns were expressed about the inadequacy of current teaching practice to support an education for scientific literacy, and about the lack of student engagement with science. A review of the science education literature revealed a need for a strategy for teachers to engage the children they teach with learning about scientific concepts, the nature of science and the consequences of science. A novel strategy grounded in active learning and dialogue was designed (the Community of Scientific Enquiry, CaSE). CoSE was evaluated, using mixed methods, with 507 students aged 11 - 14, each student participating in 4 - 8 enquries lasting one hour. CoSE created a postitive learning environment in which students were emotionally and cognitively engaged and able to make personal connections to scientific topics. Students enjoyed CoSE (93%), found it interesting (88%) and gained scientific knowledge (89%). Most (71 %) talked about the science topics after leaving class. Practicing teachers (37 primary and 45 post-primary) were trained to use CoSE with their students. All 82 reported that the training was effective and that it had an impact on classroom practice. However, the development of effective facilitation skills requires further intervention.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available