Metis Students: Learning and Engagement through Science Education
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The present study investigated the extent to which students engaged in learning if factors that influenced student engagement were in place. The factors were: relevancy, potency, competency, and belonging and had been identified by the research literature to influence student engagement. The study took place in a small, isolated, Métis community in Saskatchewan and involved grade 10 students (3 female and 2 male). The teacher used inquiry methods to teach science with units designed to be well connected to the community of the participants. The procedure of the investigation was case study using qualitative analysis. The participants were interviewed up to three times throughout the first semester of the school year. Data were gathered from the interviews and classroom observations. The interviews and observations were analyzed for the predicted factors of student engagement, as well as emerging factors. Motivation and responsibility were the two additional factors that seemed to influence the participants’ engagement with learning. I conclude that the participants did engage in learning, at varying levels, although relevancy, potency, competency, and belonging had less influence in this study than expected. Motivation and responsibility seemed to have the greatest influence on three of the participants who were striving to meet personal goals for which further education was required. These participants were considered by societal standards to be successful in school – completing grade 12 “on-time”. The other two participants were considered not successful (by Western society’s definition of successful), yet were influenced by the factors of engagement, to some extent. Their lack of school success seemed to arise from a less than meaningful school experience that allowed out-of-school experiences to be their priorities. For all the participants, there seemed to be a disconnect between in-school learning and out-of-school life as in-school learning had little impact on the participants. This led to the idea that school was less than meaningful for them. It is important that the education offered to students, especially those in Aboriginal communities, be specific to the culture and place of the community. These efforts may help students better connect in-school learning to out-of-school living and contribute to a more meaningful educational experience.
DegreeMaster of Education (M.Ed.)
CommitteeKalyn, Brenda; Lemisko, Lynn
Copyright DateAugust 2012