Learning Science: Revisiting Humanist Dimensions of Intellectual Engagement
Hanrahan, Mary U. (2002) Learning Science: Revisiting Humanist Dimensions of Intellectual Engagement. In Australasian Science Education Research Association, 11-14 July, 2002, Townsville, Qld. (Unpublished)
Many students, perhaps even the majority of students during the compulsory years of schooling, are seen as having significant difficulties in understanding the concepts of science. However my most recent research in science pedagogy suggests that the dynamics of science classrooms may alienate students before they have a chance to even begin to engage with the concepts and may continue to impede the development of positive motivational beliefs. This paper reviews a set of research studies in science education by using theory from cognitive and humanistic psychology. It explores problems with conceptual change, cognitive engagement, motivation, and self-directed learning, in relation to the psychosocial learning environment. It concludes that there are ways to engage most students so that they willingly begin to develop their scientific literacy. It recommends explicitly addressing student epistemological beliefs which affect intellectual engagement in science classes by changing the nature of the teacher-student interpersonal relationship.
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