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Children as Co-researchers: the impact of personal research projects on children’s understanding of their own learning Beth Gompertz Plymouth University.

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Presentation on theme: "Children as Co-researchers: the impact of personal research projects on children’s understanding of their own learning Beth Gompertz Plymouth University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Children as Co-researchers: the impact of personal research projects on children’s understanding of their own learning Beth Gompertz Plymouth University

2 Context Selective Grammar School Longitudinal Attitude to Science Study 8 year 8 children (age 13 y): 4 boys + 4 girls Self selected by application Working in pairs on own questions Full support of Headteacher and Science team

3 Project Overview Longitudinal Study (Quantitative) Assembly with Invited feedback Applications for Co-Researcher Project Selection Methods Sessions Dissemination Follow up

4 Interventions Session 1: Introduction to Research & Ethics pairs finalising questions Session 2: Interviews and Questionnaires refining data collection methods Session 3: Data analysis – practice collecting data, individual support Session 4: Writing up completing reports Additional sessions, contact etc as needed

5 COR research questions Pairs raised own questions, devised data collection, analysed data, wrote report and disseminated results. Girls and boys preferences in Science Effective Revision – tests or projects Teachers and students preferences Impact of after school clubs on attitude

6 Data collected Quantitative Data – statistical analysis – Longitudinal attitude data – attitude scaleattitude scale Qualitative Data – Transcripts of sessions – Transcripts of interviews – Presentations and Reports Background data

7 Change in mean score for attitude to science from year 7 to year 9attitude to science

8 Change in mean score for belief in science being ‘good for the world’ from year 7 to year 9good for the world

9 Change in mean score for willingness to be involved in science from year 7 to year 9 involved in science

10 Qualitative Data: summary of discussion themes identified by co-researchers – Perspectives and Metacognition Perspectives and Metacognition – Developing Skills Developing Skills – Nature of Science and Research Nature of Science and Research – Confidence, Responsibility and Value Confidence, Responsibility and Value

11 Four modes of significant person influence (Sjaastad 2013)

12 Adapted from Osborne 2003

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15 ‘new insight into learning’ ‘ when you go into a lesson instead of just learning, we’re sort of learning from slightly outside point of view as well. So we’re knowing how we’re learning.’

16 ‘growing confidence’ ‘ its like made me sort of... when I’ve been doing it really, sort of realised that I’m not stupid – do you know what I mean?’

17 ‘explaining own ideas’ ‘I think finding peoples view is interesting and important as well and whatever you do you are going to have to research something and wherever you go like in life even if its just in your head and you just thinking asking around you are doing research in a way’

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20 Summary of Quantitative Analysis Background attitude change in the school is broadly in line with the literature and declines year on year (significantly between year 8 & 9) The Co-Researcher group overall attitude to science is broadly in line with other groups in the period before the project started. (year 7/8) The Co-Researcher group overall attitude (BEEScore) to science contrasts markedly to the cohort as a whole and both the top set and lower sets during the project period (year 8/9). During this period it rises where overall attitude in the whole cohort falls. Factor analysis identifies 3 underlying factors: 1.Factor 1: Science is good for the world increases significantly between each year group The Co-Researcher group showed a significant difference from the whole cohort and from the lower set during the period of the project. There was no significant difference from the top set. (year 8/9) 2.Factor 2: I would like to be involved in science does not change significantly (although trend is downward) The Co-Researcher group showed a significant rise in Factor 2 The Co-Researcher group showed a significant difference from the cohort as a whole and both the top set and lower sets during the project period (year 8/9). During this period it rises where overall attitude in the whole cohort falls. 3.Factor 3: Science Process is useful in daily life declines significantly between each year group (masking F1) The Co-Researcher group showed a significant difference from the whole cohort and from the lower set during the period of the project. There was no significant difference from the top set. (year 8/9) In all factors and the overall attitude to science the CoR group mean scores rise over the period of the CoR project.

21 Discussion Theme 1: Perspectives and Metacognition greater understanding of the way in which their peers feel in different contexts and how they respond to different people. awareness of how much time and commitment teachers take to support learning, and as a result they (Co-Researchers) were more motivated and had more faith in the intention and purpose of taught sessions. broader perspective on learning in general and how education works in schools. greater awareness of the range of learning approaches in their peer group, and inclination to consider these when selecting their own. more inclined to reflect on their own learning, actions and achievement and those of the wider group as the project developed. Metacognition – the development of another layer of thinking: thinking about how they were learning and how they might alter their approach to improve the outcomes for themselves. conscious of their engagement in their learning - which appeared to be more deliberate and thoughtful. Increased awareness of the value of reflection on questions they had come to consider important. back

22 Discussion Theme 2: Developing Skills a deeper understanding of ethics greater confidence in analysing data experience of extended investigations enhanced understanding of questioning including using questionnaires and interviews more sophisticated approach to future engagement in research as participants and researchers enhanced understanding the nature of conversations and the questions they might be asked in tutorials or during interviews for jobs. heightened awareness of situations and contexts and the agenda behind these so that they could consciously make the most of them. back

23 Discussion Theme 3: Nature of Science and Research increasing awareness of the research process greater ability to discuss science in a wider context that related to their future careers and approaches to scientific and research led knowledge. Developed and argued for their own independent pedagogical approach The group as a whole had developed a deeper understanding of the difficulties of gaining a meaningful insight into what people think and how the context and style of engagement can affect this. back

24 Discussion Theme 4: Confidence, Responsibility and Value more articulate and grounded in their discussions, able to disagree with confidence in defence of their own viewpoint and to draw on evidence to support their view. increased confidence, linked to awareness and understanding of the research process but goes beyond it. awareness that they could do some things better than adults or other groups and that the power to discover lay in understanding the question, starting from the right place and applying well considered approaches to unpick the problem. discovered the value of the CoR group in a new way, many of them acknowledged that the discussions within pairs or the whole group had been influential and illuminating and despite not being a friendship group at the outset they were able to challenge and take risks secure in an ethos of mutual achievement and understanding back

25 Key References Alderson, P. (2001). "Research by children." International Journal of Social Research Methodology 4(2): Edwards, A. (2004). Education. Doing Research with Children and Young People. S. Fraser, V. Lewis, S. Ding, M. Kellett and C. Robinson. London, Sage: Griesel, D., J. Swart-Kruger, et al. (2004). Children in South Africa can make a difference: An Assessment of 'Growing Up in Cities' in Johannesburg. The Reality of Research with Children and Young People. V. Lewis, M. Kellett, C. Robinson, S. Fraser and S. Ding. London, Sage: Grover, S. (2004). "Why Won't They Listen to Us? On Giving Power and Poice to Children Participating in Social Research." Childhood 11(1): Hassan, G. (2008). "Attitudes toward science among australian tertiary and secondary school students." Research in Science & Technological Education 26(2): Osborne, J. (2003). "Attitudes towards science: a review of the literature and its implications." International Journal of Science Education 25(9): Pell, T. and T. Jarvis (2001). "Developing attitude to science scales for use with children of ages from five to eleven years." International Journal of Science Education 23(8): Sjaastad, J. (2013). "Measuring the Ways Significant Persons Influence Attitudes Towards Science and Mathematics." International Journal of Science Education 35(2): van Aalderen-Smeets, S. and J. W. van der Moden (2013). "Measuring Primary Teachers' Attitidues Toward Teaching Science: Development of the Dimensions of Attitude Toward Science (DAS) Instrument." International Journal of Science Education 35(4):


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