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Students' approaches to learning science: responding to learners' needs

Students' approaches to learning science: responding to learners' needs,Christine Chin

Students' approaches to learning science: responding to learners' needs   (Citations: 1)
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This article reports on students' approaches to learning science. In particular, it highlights the findings of three related research studies conducted by the author and teases out the implications for instructional practice in science classrooms. Areas of focus include: (a) the nature of students' approaches to learning; (b) a comparison of the qualitative differences between deep and surface learning approaches; (c) the learning strategies associated with a deep approach; (d) the role of student-generated questions in science learning; and (e) implications for instruction. The article also discusses some issues related to the research findings. Students learn science with varying degrees of success. This difference in success is often attributed to differences in the students' abilities, effort, and the learning environment of the school and home. Indeed, all these factors interact to influence the way students learn, that is, their learning approaches. Differences in these learning approaches determine, to a large extent, how successful students are in their academic achievement. Factors such as students' abilities and personalities may be beyond a teacher's sphere of influence. However, factors such as teaching methods, which can also influence students' learning approaches, are within the teacher's control. Knowing what it is that students do differently during the learning process that leads to different learning outcomes and what influences such differences in behaviour would help teachers to understand the learning process better and tailor their teaching to respond to their students' learning needs. The purpose of this article is to cull some salient findings from research on students' learning approaches in science and draw out some implications for instructional practice.
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