Addressing obstacles to success: Improving student completion, retention, and achievement in science modules in applied health programmes. Final Report

Gibson-van Marrewijk, Kelly and Hipkins, Rose and Stewart, Jane and Dannenfeldt, Gudrun and Stewart, Kevin and McHaffie, Jackie (2008) Addressing obstacles to success: Improving student completion, retention, and achievement in science modules in applied health programmes. Final Report. Project Report. Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI), Wellington, New Zealand.

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Abstract or Summary

Science education research literature suggests that the decontextualised nature of much science learning can be an obstacle to many learners. Science ideas are often expressed in formal, abstract logico-scientific modes of communication, whereas people mostly use more informal and storied narrative modes of communication (Bruner, 1986). It takes practice and careful support to learn to use these new modes and learners may not see a need to make this effort unless they can see an identity for themselves as learners and users of science knowledge (Gilbert, Hipkins & Cooper, 2005). The research project began with the aim of finding new ways to include the necessary science knowledge in undergraduate degree programmes for midwifery and nursing, without making this an obstacle to overall programme success. The research sought to find ways to support students to make links between theory and practice. We aimed to contextualise the science teaching modules by using rich narratives of practice as teaching materials. We anticipated that their effective use would require a change from traditional teaching. The key findings from the two year research project demonstrate that student engagement with science increased, although this wasn’t reflected in end of year summative results. Other issues and challenges concerned content reduction and designing effective narratives, scalability and sustainability. The research project was a model of successful collaboration leading to enhanced capability and capacity of the research team members. This presentation will draw together key issues and insights from the project to discuss the successful lessons learned and the way forward for the teaching of science in applied health programmes at Wintec.

Item Type:Monograph (Project Report)
Keywords that describe the item:science education, student engagement, narrative approaches
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions:Schools > School of Education
Corporate > Research Office
Schools > Centre for Health & Social Practice
ID Code:209
Deposited By:
Deposited On:09 Jun 2009 23:12
Last Modified:09 Apr 2010 02:33

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