Does practical work really motivate? A study of the affective value of practical work in secondary school science

Abrahams, Ian (2009) Does practical work really motivate? A study of the affective value of practical work in secondary school science. International Journal of Science Education, 31 (17). pp. 2335-2353. ISSN 0950-0693

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09500690802342836

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive

Abstract

The present paper reports on a study that examined whether practical work can be said to have affective outcomes, and if so in what sense. The term 'affective' is used here to refer to the emotions, or feelings, engendered amongst pupils towards school science in general, or one of the sciences in particular. The study is based on 25 multi-site case studies that employed a condensed fieldwork strategy. Data were collected, using tape-recorded interviews and observational field notes, in a sample of practical lessons undertaken in English comprehensive (non-selective) schools during Key Stages 3 and 4 (ages 11-14 years and 15-16 years, respectively). The findings suggest that whilst practical work generates short-term engagement, it is relatively ineffective in generating motivation to study science post compulsion or longer-term personal interest in the subject, although it is often claimed to do so. This suggests that those involved with science education need to develop a more realistic understanding of the limitations of practical work in the affective domain.

Keywords:Case study approach, Conceptual understanding, Diverse range, effectiveness, England, Essential component, Field notes, Lesson plans, Multi-site, National projects, practical work, Primary schools, Secondary schools, Training intervention, Personnel training, Students, Societies and institutions
Subjects:X Education > X300 Academic studies in Education
Divisions:Professional services > Lincoln Higher Education Research Institute
ID Code:16765
Deposited On:23 Feb 2015 16:02

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