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Engaging science pedagogies: What Year 10 students in a Western Australian independent school have to say about science learning

Jones, Philip (2015) Engaging science pedagogies: What Year 10 students in a Western Australian independent school have to say about science learning. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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Emerging from a personal and professional interest in student engagement with learning in secondary school science classrooms, this dissertation investigates the question: How do year 10 students understand, experience and respond to science teaching in secondary school?

Through the voices of some year 10 secondary school science students in an Independent Christian Secondary school in Western Australia, supported by some aspects of my professional experience, this thesis identifies, describes and explains the kinds of classroom conditions conducive for enhancing student engagement in science learning. A case study approach was adopted to investigate student perceptions of engaging pedagogies in year 10 science classes. Seeking a diverse range of strengths, abilities and attributes, all year 10 students, 60 in all, were invited to take part in the research program. The participating students consisted of a mixed gender group of 18 year 10 students, all with some interest in science learning. The students were interviewed in pairs and in focus groups, about the kinds of pedagogical, organisational and cultural conditions that enhanced their engagement in science learning. A time frame matrix was adopted to guide open ended questions and discussions. Drawing on year 10 student past, present and future perceptions of when they were learning science, this thesis identifies as essential ingredients a knowledgeable, passionate and committed teacher, hands on learning, relevance and ownership of learning, and relational learning, that connects with, and is relevant to student engagement in science learning.

Methodologically, the thesis acknowledges the value and importance of student voice in research relative to student engagement in science learning. Above all, the thesis reinforces the significance of building a relational learning environment that gives access to meaningful and relevant learning activities in science classrooms based on a culture of trust, respect and care.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Supervisor(s): Down, Barry
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