Employing metacognitive procedures in Natural Science teaching

Butterfield, Alexandra (2012-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Education, both in South Africa and internationally, experiences a number of challenges with regards to the need for improved teaching and learning. South African education is in a state of transformation to address the country's educational needs. In science education specifically, there is a heightened necessity to develop teaching that will respond to distinctive educational needs in the sciences. Many of the educational issues, presented in current literature, are mirrored in my Natural Sciences classroom. Given the benefits of enhanced metacognition for effective learning, this study aimed to investigate the use of metacognitive instruction procedures to improve my Natural Sciences teaching practice. Consequently, it also aimed to explore the influence that this may have on the metacognitive development of my Grade 9 Natural Sciences learners. This research study was based on a social constructivist perspective that views learning as a unique, internalized construction of knowledge from a social interaction, such as teaching. This study was embedded within a paradigm of praxis, with a qualitative action research cycle forming the research methodology and design respectively. Purposeful sampling was used to select nine of my Grade 9 Natural Sciences learners to act as informants for the Grade 9 class. Data was collected in the form of learner reflections, an open-ended questionnaire, a focus-group interview, and a research journal. Furthermore, the data was analysed, using a theoretically founded coding scheme, to identify and interpret significant themes and/or trends. The research findings indicated that the employed metacognitively orientated teaching procedures enhanced my Grade 9 Natural Sciences learners' metacognition. Their metacognitive awareness and reflection abilities improved, as well as their knowledge and regulation of cognition. The teaching techniques also demonstrated the potential to facilitate the development of my learners' conscious thinking, self-discipline, responsibility and active participation in learning - all characteristics envisaged for the ideal South Africa learner. In addition to this, the research process demonstrated the ability to enhance my Natural Sciences teaching practice and the information gained from this study will be used to inform my future teaching practice. I now realise the value of incorporating metacognitive teaching procedures into my lessons, as well as the importance of reflecting on my teaching process and considering the uniqueness of each learner in my class. Additionally, teacher training institutes and educational policy makers may benefit from the information gained from this study, for improving teaching practice. Apart from this, findings attained from this study have the potential to inform future cycles of this action research process or alternatively to be used for other research within the field.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Onderwys, beide in Suid-Afrika en internasionaal, ervaar 'n aantal uitdagings rakende die behoefte aan verbeterde onderrig en leer. Die Suid-Afrikaanse onderwysstelsel is tans in 'n staat van transformasie om die land se opvoedkundige behoeftes aan te spreek. In die wetenskap-onderwys spesifiek, is daar 'n toenemende noodsaaklikheid om onderrig te ontwikkel wat die unieke onderwysbehoeftes in die wetenskappe kan aanspreek. Baie van die opvoedkundige kwessies soos in huidige literatuur uitgelig, is ook in my Natuurwetenskappe-klaskamer teenwoordig. Gegee die bewese voordele van verbeterde metakognisie vir effektiewe leer, het hierdie navorsingstudie gepoog om die gebruik van metakognitiewe onderrigprosedures vir die verbetering van my Natuurwetenskappe-onderrigpraktyk te ondersoek. Die studie was ook daarop gemik om die invloed van metakognitiewe onderrigprosedures op die metakognitiewe ontwikkeling van my Graad 9 Natuurwetenskappe-leerders, na te vors. Hierdie navorsingstudie is gebaseer op 'n sosiaal-konstruktivistiese leerperspektief wat leer sien as 'n unieke, geïnternaliseerde konstruksie van kennis binne 'n sosiale interaksie, soos onderrig. Hierdie studie is binne 'n paradigma van „praxis‟ ingebed, met aksienavorsing as navorsingsontwerp en daar is van „n kwalitatiewe navorsingsmetodologie gebruik gemaak. Doelgerigte steekproefneming is gebruik om nege van my Graad 9 Natuurwetenskappe-leerders te kies om as informante vir die graad 9-klas op te tree. Data is in die vorm van leerders se refleksies, 'n oop-einde vraelys, 'n fokusgroep-onderhoud, en 'n navorsings- joernaal ingesamel. Verder is die data met behulp van 'n teoretiese koderingskema geanaliseer wat belangrike temas en/of tendense identifiseer en interpreteer. Die navorsing het aangedui dat die metakognitiewe onderrigprosedures wat gebruik is, my Graad 9 Natuurwetenskappe leerders se metakognisie versterk het. Hulle metakognitiewe bewustheid en reflektiewe vermoëns het verbeter, sowel as hulle kennis en regulering van kognisie. Die onderrigtegnieke het ook die potensiaal getoon om die ontwikkeling van my leerders se bewuste denke, self-dissipline, verantwoordelikheid en aktiewe deelname in die leerproses te fasiliteer. Hierdie eienskappe is van dié wat vir die ideale Suid-Afrikaanse leerder beoog word. Benewens hierdie aspekte het die navorsing ook my Natuurwetenskappe-onderrigpraktyk verbeter en die navorsingsbevindinge sal in die toekoms gebruik word om my onderwyspraktyk toe te lig. Ek besef nou die waarde daarvan om metakognitiewe onderrigprosedures in my lesse te inkorporeer, sowel as die belang van refleksie oor my onderrigproses en om die uniekheid van elke leerder in my klas in ag te neem. Onderwys-opleidingsinstellings en opvoedkundige beleidmakers mag uit hierdie navorsing voordeel trek rakende die verbetering van onderwyspraktyk. Afgesien van die bogenoemde, het die navorsingsbevindinge ook die potensiaal om toekomstige siklusse van aksienavorsing toe te lig en om binne verdere navorsing in die veld gebruik te word.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20212
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