Veje til motivation og læring: Et studie af elevers opfattelse af forskellige faktorers betydning for motivation og læring i kemi- og biologiundervisningen på teknisk gymnasium

Publikation: Bog/antologi/afhandling/rapportPh.d.-afhandling

  • Hanne Møller Andersen, Danmark
  • Institut for Videnskabsstudier

Students' Motivation and Learning in Chemistry and Biology - a study of the influence of the classroom setting on students' motivation and learning

The research project concerns students' motivation and learning in chemistry and biology classrooms in the Danish Upper Secondary School (Teknisk Gymnasium). Students' motivation and learning is investigated in different classroom settings such as: teacher centred dialog/instruction, group work on a given task and project work in small groups. The investigation is a mixed-method study based on a combination of classroom observations, student interviews and questionnaires.

It is analysed how the regulation and framing of chemistry and biology teaching gives room for students autonomy, relationship and competence and how different factors in the learning environment can inhibit or support the development of these elements and how they influence students motivation and learning. The effect of different learning activities on students learning is purely evaluated by the students, no tests have been carried out.

The learning activities are analysed using an analytical framework based on a range of motivation and learning theories: Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan), Goal Orientation Theory (Kaplan, Maehr and Ames), Self-Regulated Learning (Boekaerts and Zimmermann), Experiential Learning (Dewey, Kolb and Jarvis) and Communities of Learners/Practice (Crawford and Wenger).

The study showed that interdisciplinary projects have a positive effect on students' motivation and sense of learning. Only 15-19 % of the student's preferred traditional teaching compared to interdisciplinary projects, they feared that traditional teaching would be dull and monotonous. In general students found projects with a high degree of freedom more inspiring and exiting, than projects with less autonomy and freedom, but too much freedom and choice can also have a negative effect on students motivation, some students are scared of making the wrong choices, they feel insecure and want more guidance from the teacher. But the study also shows, that too much teacher control and regulation has a negative effect on students motivation and learning. Many students commented rather negatively on a teacher-controlled activity, where the teacher explained an experiment that the students should carry out in the laboratory. The students wanted to be more actively involved in the learning process; they felt that the teachers' presentation only resulted in a limited learning outcome.

Observations of students work in small groups have shown that students' collaboration and social interaction both has a positive and a negative effect on students' motivation and learning. In some groups students social interaction supports students collaboration, motivation and learning, while in other groups social interaction stands in the way of students learning and development, because the students focus too much on well-being and togetherness. In contrary some groups put too little emphases on the social interaction, they focus on performance and competition and forget about the social aspects of collaboration.

Students' motivation and learning also depend on their individual interests, competencies and goal-orientation. The study has shown that student's goal-orientation is the most important factor for individual students learning and motivation. Students oriented towards mastery/learning are often the most enthusiastic, interested, curious and hardworking students. They are motivated by the task itself and their learning outcome is often rather high compared to students with other goal-orientations, especially in teaching with a certain degree of choice and autonomy. Students' content interest also influences their motivation and involvement in the projects, but the study has shown that projects about subject matters of little prior interest to the students also can turn out to engage them, so that they end up finding the project interesting. The classroom setting and organisation is at least as important for students' motivation as the content of the project.

The following recommendations can be drawn from the study:

A certain degree of choice and self-regulation has a positive influence on students' motivation for chemistry and biology in school, hence there must room for choice and self-regulation in the classroom, but not all students know how to handle a high degree of choice and self-regulation, therefore there must be a progression in students autonomy during their education. Students' collaboration and social interaction can have a positive effect on both motivation and learning, but it does not always happen. To enhance the positive aspects of students' collaboration, teaching most put more emphasis on establishing a classroom culture where students work in small groups.

Forlag<Forlag uden navn>
Antal sider318
ISBN (Trykt)978-87-92146-01-4
StatusUdgivet - 2007

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