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ERIC Number: EJ1071551
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Sep
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0022-4308
A Strategy for Incorporating Students' Interests into the High-School Science Classroom
Hagay, Galit; Baram-Tsabari, Ayelet
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v52 n7 p949-978 Sep 2015
Many students feel the curriculum is detached from their lives and interests. Indeed, about half the questions asked by high school biology students are not addressed by the curriculum. This study presents a strategy to incorporate students' curiosity questions into the curriculum as a way to reduce the disparity between students' interests and curricular requirements. We examined how five high school teachers incorporate their students' questions into their teaching and students' perspectives on and experience of learning this way. In all classes, students were invited to anonymously write down their questions on the next topics to be learned and hand them in to the teacher, who mapped the questions into the required curriculum and planned teaching to address these questions. Teachers were given a freehand concerning how the questions were to be answered. This resulted in five different pedagogies ranging from teacher-centered to students-centered and different levels to which students' voices affected the lesson content. There was no commonality between the level of adaptation of teaching content to include students' voice and the choice of student-centered pedagogies. The three basic needs identified by the Self-Determination Theory were addressed, hence potentially increasing students' intrinsic motivation. It enabled almost all the students to ask questions and influence lesson content; in some cases, an unintended outcome of improving teacher-student and peer to peer relations was observed. We suggest a practical, accessible, and flexible way to integrate students' existing interests in science with disciplinary science learning, governed by the respect for their autonomy and needs. If the curriculum does not provide for personal queries, teachers can make this possible by incorporating students' questions into the curriculum and negotiating a shared shadow curriculum.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education; High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A