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Title: Gauging the level of science awareness among early secondary Maltese students
Authors: Gatt, Suzanne
Azzopardi, Claudette
Keywords: Education -- Science and teaching -- Malta
Education, Secondary
Education, Secondary -- Malta -- Social aspects
Scientific literature -- Malta
Citizenship -- Malta
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: European Science Education Research Association
Citation: Gatt, S., & Azzopardi, C. (2013). Gauging the level of science awareness among early secondary Maltese students. ESERA Conference Proceedings, Nicosia. 1-12.
Abstract: Science education for the general student currently aims to enable all students to engage with and acting upon personal, social and global issues which have a scientific/technological aspect. It is generally agreed that this engagement involves the acquisition of certain subject, personal and social attributes. An effort is being made by science educators to promote positive attitudes to science, particularly towards school science as several studies have shown that attitudes to science tend to decline between the age of 11 and 14. In this paper, it is argued that the basis for improved engagement with science depends on a good level of science awareness by young people during the early secondary years of education. An attempt is made to fine tune the definition of science awareness and to distinguish it, yet simultaneously relate it with 'scientific literacy' and 'science for citizenship'. The meaning of science awareness that guided this study was derived from a psychological definition of awareness combined with a sociocultural relativistic view of science. A questionnaire was designed to gauge the level of science awareness amongst Maltese students in the second year of secondary schooling. Results have shown that some beliefs that the students have about the importance of science and science education do not reflect the role of science and technology in society. The factors that affect the development of science awareness in Malta have been found to be highly related to schooling, such as the type of school attended and the pedagogies adopted in science classrooms. Engagement with science can be improved through a conscious effort to adopt appropriate pedagogical strategies aimed at raising science awareness during school science.
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