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Students' engagement in different STEM learning environments

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Subtitle:integrated STEM education as promising practice?
In this paper, we explore how students’ engagement varies in different STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning environments. More specifically, we focus on the significance of a learning environment applying an integrated STEM (iSTEM) approach and the significance of STEM learning environments’ student-centredness. Moreover, we explore the relative importance of different student-centred principles (lesson plan and implementation, communicative interactions, student-teacher relationships) for students’ engagement in the STEM learning environment. Applying a mixed-method approach, we draw from observational data of 24 STEM lessons in combination with data from seven focus groups with 67 grade 9 students. The quantitative findings, based on the observational data, show that a learning environment applying an iSTEM approach seems to support students’ engagement. Further investigation made it clear that the student-centredness in this learning environment is especially significant. Regarding the specific student-centred principles, all principles had a significant impact on students’ engagement. The focus group data make clear that, besides student-centredness, the integrative aspect and the use of authentic real-world problems in iSTEM can also be engaging for students. These results indicate that iSTEM is a good practice to engage students in the STEM learning environment, as it facilitates teachers’ implementation of a general student-centred approach.
Journal: International Journal of Science Education
ISSN: 0950-0693
Volume: 41
Pages: 1387 - 1407
Publication year:2019