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Autonomy in Science Education: A Practical Approach in Attitude Shifting towards Science Learning

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Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 18, Number 6, ISSN 1059-0145


This work describes a 2-year study in teaching school science, based on the stimulation of higher thinking levels in learning science using a highly student-centred and constructivist learning approach. We sought to shift and strengthen students' positive attitudes towards science learning, self-efficacy towards invention, and achievement. Focusing on an important aspect of student's positive attitude towards learning, their preference (like/dislike) towards independent study with minimal or no teacher interference, which leads to increased learning autonomy, was investigated. The main research was conducted on elementary school students; 271 grade level one (G1; 6 years old) to grade level four (G4; 10 years old) participated in this study. As a result of this study, it was found that: (1) 73% of the students preferred minimal or no explanation at all, favoring to be left with the challenge of finding out what to do, compared to 20% of the control group, indicating a positive attitude shift in their learning approaches. (2) The experimental group achieved slightly more (9.5% difference) than the control group in knowledge-comprehension-level based exam; however, the experimental group scored much higher (63% difference) in challenging exams which required higher thinking levels. (3) The same trend was also observed in self-efficacy toward invention, where 82% of the experimental group saw themselves as possible inventors compared to 37% of the control group.


Jalil, P.A., Abu Sbeih, M.Z., Boujettif, M. & Barakat, R. (2009). Autonomy in Science Education: A Practical Approach in Attitude Shifting towards Science Learning. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(6), 476-486. Retrieved February 23, 2019 from .

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