Why do we need to learn this? : an investigation of the association between science teachers' use of utility value statements and students' immediate and global perceptions of science utility
Kafkas, Stephen Spaulding
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Science teachers have many opportunities to influence their students' science utility value beliefs throughout the course of their instruction. However, many of them refrain from making statements regularly about the usefulness of the content they are teaching, and it is unclear how effective such statements are in influencing student beliefs. This study examined the week-to-week and global relationship between five dimensions of teachers' utility value statements (frequency, clarity, target, purpose, and temporality) and their students' utility value beliefs. The week-to-week relationship was assessed by the clarity of utility value expressed in six essays students produced. More global changes in students' overall valuing of science in general were collected using a pre- and post-survey. The results of both analyses suggest that students respond better to utility value statements that are connected to their goals, decisions, or career aspirations. Some evidence also suggests that students prefer utility value statements that are specific to an individual rather than to a group of students. Finally, students rated science as more useful when their teacher emphasized the moderate to long-term usefulness of the content. These results led to a number of suggestions for further research and implications for teacher practice.