SECURE project results - inspiring the young to study MST

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B. Rovsek, D. Sokolowska, W. Peeters, J. de Meyere
Limburg Catholic University College, Hasselt, Belgium, Institute of Physics, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, Dienst Katholiek Onderwijs vzw, Antwerpen, Belgium, Limburg Catholic University College, Hasselt, Belgium
Forum 2014 Helsinki
WG1 : Inspiring the young

Some results of FP7 project SECURE will be presented in view of the HOPE net- work meeting motto ’inspiring the young to study physics’. The focus of the SECURE project was on the MST (mathematics, science, and technology) curriculum for learners of ages up to 15. Different curriculum representations were studied, formal (written in official documents), implemented (by teachers) and perceived (by learners). The ques- tion, which was behind the research conducted by the project consortium of 11 partners from 10 EU countries was, what can be done to preserve the interest and motivation of learners for studying MST.

For example, teachers declaratively agree about the motivation, being itself an important goal of the MST subject, and also about the activities, which should be always interest- ing for their pupils, but according to their saying they do not do enough to accomplish these goals in practice. Significant discrepancy was also found between the answers of teachers and learners about the frequencies of various activities (teachers report they do far more often than learners report). We have detected some significant differences across MST subjects. Activities are the most important support of learners’ interests for MST subjects for younger learners, for chemistry and for physics; topics are more important support of motivation for biology and geography. 80% of S/T teachers and 75% of mathematics teachers find their pupils interested in M/S/T, whereas only 59% of physics teachers share that opinion, and only 43% agree it is also easy to motivate their pupils for physics. Across the ages the motivation, according to teachers, decrease, but it seems it decreases more for mathematics (from 89% for 5 yo to 63% for 13 yo) than for S/T (from 84% for 5 yo to 73% for 13 yo). According to learners’ responses a decrease of motivation for MST around the age of 10 was detected. It coincides with a decrease of reported activities (for example, going for lessons outside the school).