Damian Blake, Coral Campbell and Ian Robottom- 2008

Improving Secondary School Students' Engagement in Science: Case Studies of Doing Authentic Science in Schools from Across South East Asia

This research examines science education intiatives that have been develoepd by science teachers in ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand as a response to school-age students' declining interests in science education across the region. The initiatives under investigation in this project have an emphasis on the use of authentic and community-based projects to engage students in learning science.

The aims of the project are to:

  • Develop a clearer understanding of differing constructions of 'science' and 'science education' in culturally different international location;
  • Develop recommendations that will improve Australian students' participation and engagement in school-based science education by preparing and analysing international case studies of successful science education initiatives in ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand;
  • Improve Australian science educators' participation in science education networks and partnerships that exist in the South East Asian region;
  • Develop strategy that will allow Australian science educators greater levels of participation in and cultural appreciation of science education intiatives occurring in Australia's neighbouring countries;
  • Prepare a DVD resource for teachers and lecturers that will document the case studeis and discuss factors and conditions contributing to the successful use of authentic and communty-based science initiatives;
  • Prepare a web-page to launch and support the research and resources developed, and to foster the development of greater understanding and cooperation between science educators in the South East Asian Region;
  • Encourage the use of the resource outcomes of the project in Deakin's science education courses, thus contributing substantially to the University's policies in Internationalising the Curriculum.

The research questions are:

  • How are science educators across South East Asia using authentic and community-based science projects to increase school students' engagement and interest in science?
  • What is the nature of the authentic and community-based projects and how are these influenced by regional and cultural conditions and localised cultural identities?
  • What comceptions of science education are held by science educators in the South East Asian region and how do these conceptions influence the practice of what is seen to be innovative science education?
  • What partnerships and networks do science teachers create to sustain these innovations, and how do these networks enhance the quality of the taught science?
  • What underpinning principles and strategies contribute to the successful use of authentic and community-based sciecne education initiatives in the different contexts across South East Asia?

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