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Carlos Furió Mas
Educación Química, 17 (222-227)
Researchers, Teachers
3 – 10 pages
The motivation of the students towards the subjects of science has become a concern for the teaching staff, since an increasing lack of interest regarding the subjects of chemistry and physics has been detected. The students themselves corroborate this fact in several research studies carried out in the past. The pupils complain of a teaching decontextualized from society, quite useless, and without topical issues, of boring and little participatory teaching methods, of the lack of practice and the little confidence they receive when they are assessed. Moreover, some authors attribute an increase of failure to the age factor. Thus, the teachers find themselves with demotivated students, fact that contributes to their poor learning and to lack of interest for the subject.
When the teachers are asked for solutions, they suggest that aspects of the daily life should be added, as well as the inclusion of more practice…however, the problem seems more complex. In fact, science is not usually presented to the students as something with an hypothetic and deductive nature, but as something with dogmatic and static views, which neither pay attention to the problems that led to the construction of scientific knowledge nor to the historical evolution of such knowledge, preventing the construction of the chemical knowledge as an adventure of the mind as well as the emotional and intellectual involvement of the pupil.
The author establishes the hypothesis that the motivation should be integrated within the whole teaching-learning process. To that end, he proposes among other ideas the inclusion of STS interactions, the introduction of technological aspects of our current society and their applications to issues of the everyday life, such as to environmental problems. He also suggests the need to change the way of assessing the learning process, showing positive expectations to the pupil through some kind of credible and optimistic informative feedback.
Besides, in this process he assigns a leading role to the teachers, since they are in the spotlight of the students and must lead the change being the first ones to express and share their motivation towards science.
Carlos Furió figures as author in two of the publications chosen among the set of articles on students motivation. His contributions are interesting, since he reflects very clearly the current problems of the teaching of science as a whole, and the teaching of chemistry in particular, providing solutions which support the thesis of other authors as well as new approaches to some of the possible solutions.

In this short communication, several new suggestions are provided regarding possible solutions to the motivation problem on the part of the pupils. With regard to the coincident aspects with other studies we find the following: it introduces the need to contextualize the teaching and adapt it to the needs of society. It also underlines the crucial role of the teachers in the change necessary for the teaching of science.

However, there are some aspects in this study that are worth highlighting: the suggestion that attention should be paid to the way in which science is built through the study of history as well as the hypothesis which states that the change should be integrated along the whole teaching-learning process and that the assessment process must favour the positive expectations of the students through a good feedback, are contributions that should be taken into account when analysing the motivation of our pupils with regard to experimental science.
CECE – Spanish Confederation of Education and Training Centre

Comments about this Publication

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Alberto Regis (Italy)

Message: This article has been published in 2006. However the explained ideas are still significant and scientific teaching researchers are working on their development. Unfortunately teaching research does not influence usually teaching practice.
There are a lot of aspects to face the problem of students ‘lack of motivation’. Both these originated before the start of the studies and these originated during the teaching/learning process. The author considers more important those lasts and suggests some examples to explain his hypothesis.
One of his basic thoughts is that the ‘lack of motivation’ problems have not to be used as a contrast between the study of notions (as ‘doing theory’) and the experimental practice (as ‘laboratory activity’). During the teaching/learning process both factors must be always complemeted each other.
Developing arguments I underline those main points:
Teaching chemistry usually the problems at the origin of the scientific knowledge construction are not approached. Teachers have to regard that without that approach knowledge seems more arbitrary and dogmatic.
Chemistry teach is introduced in an unproblematic way without place emphasis on his hypothetic and evolutionary character: so the scientific work seems dogmatic and static.
In this contest some classic examples have been suggested about problems resolved by scientists to interpret experimental evidences; they used theoretical context more and more advanced characterizing the chemistry concepts development.
Therefore, the author underlines the importance of the possibility for students to pass from a theoretical context to another, trying to solve problems like those solved by scientists (today teachers suggest similar problems to students). Valid concepts are the result today of the historical evolution of ideas invented by scientists to clear the epistemological hurdles. The same obstacles students have to overcome for an effective learning. This type of intellectual and emotional adventures determined the motivation to study chemistry (understand to appreciate)
Student motivation is closely related to the chemistry teaching/learning process, to the problems suggested to students, to learning strategies developed during lessons, to obtained results (playing attention to the importance of mistakes as a learning moment and not as a failure) and to the learning context. For this reason the author put in teachers hands the responsibility of students motivations.

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.