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Place-based science education for five elementary schools in rural Thailand

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Item Summary

Title: Place-based science education for five elementary schools in rural Thailand
Authors: Klechaya, Rojjana
Keywords: place-based science education
science education in Thailand
rural elementary schools
professional development
Issue Date: Aug 2012
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [August 2012]
Abstract: This research was designed to study the effect of a professional development program in place-based science education on teacher and student learning in rural elementary schools in Thailand's northern Lampang province. Based on the results of a pilot study conducted in 2008 at one school, which was then followed by a needs assessment conducted with principals and teachers in 2009, four key findings were confirmed: (1) teachers lacked the confidence and ability to teach science, (2) students were not engaged in active science learning, (3) the schools lacked resources for teaching science, and (4) there was a lack of community support for the schools. A professional development program in place-based science education was subsequently designed and implemented in 2010 to provide a support network for teachers to develop and teach lesson plans that connected science to the local community resources and daily lives of the students. The study focused on five schools, seven teachers, and their students from diverse cultural backgrounds who spoke multiple languages.
The data examined in this study included principal, teacher, and student interviews before and after training; teacher lesson plans; researcher, peer, and outsider observations of teaching; student work and projects; standardized student test scores in science; and interviews with parents. The key findings suggested that teachers were able to improve their science teaching by connecting science to the local knowledge in the community. Teachers' attitudes toward teaching science improved. The students became more curious, outgoing, and confident over time. The students also developed reasoning skills and were able to problem-solve and design projects that connected with the local community. Importantly, the students' scores on standardized science tests significantly improved in six months between the 3rd and 4th grade at all five schools. Because it was very important to connect science taught in the Thai National Curriculum with local funds of knowledge, the support of the administrators and community was critical to the success of the place-based science education lessons. In short, place-based science education helped to close the gap between local knowledge and global knowledge.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/100980
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Education



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