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State of Art in Belgium: Students’ Motivation

A. Belleflamme, S. Graillon, M. Romainville

Department of Education and Technology, University of Namur (Belgium)


The image of science has evolved from a "main vehicle for progress to the cause of health risks, mass destruction and environmental degradation".
Moreover, young people choose their higher education based on two main factors: first, their interest in a particular subject and, secondly, their idea of career prospects in that field. Young people are then tempted to follow some more fashionable disciplines in higher education and /or society (communication, psychology, business, finance, sports, ...), these sectors being considered as less demanding and however more promising in terms of career and salaries. But they can also choose studies that are deemed long and difficult, but then focusing on sectors that are seen as more profitable on the long run (medicine, management...).
Young students still face negative stereotypes. Thus, girls are not or little encouraged by their school environment (teacher, guidance counsellors...) and family into choosing a scientific career. A research program in cognitive psychology on prejudice, held by the departments of psychology at Harvard, Virginia and Washington Universities, showed that "men have difficulties to associate women and career or woman and science, but so have women".

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.10.13

Posted by J.A. Ruiz (Spain)

Message: The document shows aspects of Sciences teachers that can be really useful for Secondary teachers in the current context. This document offers an interesting description of pupils´ current situation not only in Belgium. In this paper the authors describe how young students do not choose science studies because they have a low attractiveness. The interest and motivation are directly linked to teaching methods and in this paper some remedies are proposed: improving the image of science and technology, rethinking science teaching for secondary and primary education, rethinking contents about science and technology and teacher training. All these problems are common to almost all countries in Europa, and most of the solutions propose are useful in all of them. Young people motivation in the scholar science is a difficult that teachers and curriculum designers have to study if we want to get a scientific literacy in our future citizens.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Mustafa BAYRAKÇI (Turkey)

Message: This paper aims to emphazise how science can be made more attractive for young people. Given in the abstract, what caused the development of science and lists as health risks, mass destruction and environmental degradation. Then the author talking about the young people’s selections of studies over time. At first they choose their studies based on interest in a particular subject and their idea of career prospects in that field. But then they tempted to follow more fashionable disciplines. Finally they front the seen as more lucrative on the long run. There is some suggestions at the other section in order to change this perception of young students against science. These suggestions mainly include that confronting students with science in the curriculum at an early age. Science is a process that is constantly changing and modernizing. In this process if we remove these two perceptions in students and we can meet them in their earliest ages, we distinguish that science will play an important role in the solution of many world problem like current global warming and we can cope with these problems easily.

Date: 2012.09.27

Posted by Doumkou Fotini (Greece)

Message: This paper is relevant in the sense that it briefly states a few issues that are influencing students’ motivation to get involved with science and technology. Since chemistry belongs to the sciences, one can say that the paper has some relevance.

The paper refers to three main issues that science and technology are not so popular among students: a) the lack of career prospects, b) the negative stereotypes and c) the teaching methods. However, the paper does not concentrate on chemistry specifically. For example, studies have shown that not all physical sciences share the same degree of unpopularity among students. In addition, there is no obvious connection of what the paper states to the Belgian reality and also there are no bibliographical references to support the statements made.

The paper does not explain students’ obstacles in addressing chemistry and also it does not discuss the difficulties of chemistry teachers to keep update to the continuous progresses of the research. The paper refers to some remedies that could be used for enhancing students’ motivation without concentrating on chemistry however. The remedies proposed are sound and they could be taken as general guidelines for policy makers in education. For example, improving the image of science and technology, rethinking science teaching from primary to secondary education, training teachers better, informing the youth better and improving the dissemination of scientific culture are issues that we are also constantly discussing in Greece as well. Of course, the paper does not especially elaborate on each of these remedies by giving specific quantitative information on research that has possibly been made in relation with their effectiveness and with implementation issues.

Overall, I consider this paper as a starting point for further work and intensive research for reaching more concrete results specialized in the field of chemistry, which is considered a subject that poses special difficulties to the students via mainly its unique nature and symbolic language.

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.