To promote science: students need exposure outside of classroom

Education

Students love science, and they would love more science activities outside of classrooms, new study finds.

Here’s how schools can encourage broader participation of students in the science field: more activities and science learning outside of classrooms.

A new study published by researchers in the International Journal of Science Education reveals that schools need science-based learning outside of the classroom to address the failing performance of schools in offering sufficient science opportunities for students.

The team of researchers analyzed the survey data from nearly 6,000 United Kingdom secondary schoolchildren aged 11-16 from areas with traditionally low science engagement. They have found that students there, or from less privileged background, remain far less likely to participate in informal learning of science, for instance: museum visits and school trips. Over half of surveyed students had never been on a science-focused school trip, while nearly seventy percent had never welcomed a visitor talk on science.

The issue, they claim, is linked to high cost of such trips, and the pressures of high-stakes testing, contributing to inequality in STEM-based learning outside of the classroom.

But despite these obstacles, researchers have found strong levels of interest in science among students.

Apparently, it suggests that school-led efforts would be well received by the students, and authors of the research argued that school can play a leading role in encouraging interest in science and science-linked learning among traditionally marginalized group.

In a press statement, co-author Dr Jennifer DeWitt said that they encourage schools to ensure science-linked extra curricula activities which include school visits — targeting to reach all students, not just those in the ‘top sets.’ This would avoid reproducing existing inequalities.

“We would also urge places like science museums and science centres to broaden their offer, so that a wider range of individuals – not just those from privileged backgrounds – can feel welcomed and comfortable there,” she added.

 

 

Qarla is a blogger, book author and a computer engineering undergraduate.

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