Science teaching that matters: Conceptions and experiences of first-year university students

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First-year university science teaching
Empirical analytical study
Pedagogical thoughtfulness
Pedagogical understanding
Good science teaching

This study is holistic, empirical, interpretative, and empathetic in its nature. It is holistic because I was interested in viewing a broad, background picture of good teaching, not only through the overall institutional goals and specific curriculum outcomes, but also through becoming more fully aware of the student participants’ distinct personal lives, their extracurricular activities, their volunteerism, and their work commitments. The study is also empirical because it focused on students’ experiences with teaching and learning occurring in both physical and educational environments of Simon Fraser University (SFU). It is interpretative because it aimed to observe, understand, and portray the meanings of interpretations of students’ experiences. Finally, the study is empathetic in its nature because it is concerned with students’ conceptions and perspectives as well as their opinions and emotions. The research presented in this thesis describes first-year students’ experiences with science teaching received at SFU. It applies qualitative empirical analysis as a research methodology as well as consideration of the pedagogical dynamics and implications for first-year science students. Main themes about good first-year science teaching emerged after conducting comprehensive interviews with eight student participants. The interview findings were interpreted by considering and articulating the meaning of students’ experiences in their first year of study in postsecondary sciences at SFU.

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Allan MacKinnon
Education: Faculty of Education
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.