Theses and Dissertations

Author

Meiko Negishi

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University

Advisor

Elder, D. Anastasia

Committee Member

Morse, T. David

Committee Member

Xu, Jianzhong

Committee Member

Morse, W. Linda

Committee Member

McGrath, R. Vicent

Date of Degree

5-1-2007

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

College

College of Education

Abstract

Student achievement and motivation to learn physics is highly valued in many industrialized countries including the United States and Japan. Science education curricula in these countries emphasize the importance and encourage classroom teachers to use an inquiry approach. This dissertation investigated high school students? motivational orientations and their understanding of physics concepts in a context of inquiry-based instruction. The goals were to explore the patterns of instructional effects on motivation and learning in each country and to examine cultural differences and similarities. Participants consisted of 108 students (55 females, 53 males) and 9 physics teachers in the United States and 616 students (203 females and 413 males) and 11 physics teachers in Japan. Students were administered (a) Force Concept Inventory measuring physics conceptual understanding and (b) Attitudes about Science Questionnaire measuring student motivational orientations. Teachers were given a survey regarding their use of inquiry teaching practices and background information. Additionally, three teachers in each country were interviewed and observed in their classrooms. For the data analysis, two-level hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) methods were used to examine individual student differences (i.e., learning, motivation, and gender) within each classroom (i.e., inquiry-based teaching, teaching experience, and class size) in the U.S. and Japan, separately. Descriptive statistical analyses were also conducted. The results indicated that there was a cultural similarity in that current teaching practices had minimal influence on conceptual understanding as well as motivation of high school students between the U.S. and Japan. In contrast, cultural differences were observed in classroom structures and instructional approaches. Furthermore, this study revealed gender inequity in Japanese students? conceptual understanding and self-efficacy. Limitations of the study, as well as implications for high school physics teachers are discussed. Future research in this line could explore students? use of cognitive strategies to overcome misconceptions in Western and Eastern cultures. Also, exploring the best practices in changing student misconceptions and promoting motivation across cultures would enrich our understanding and current teaching practices.

URI

https://hdl.handle.net/11668/15065

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