Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Korean Students' Attitudes toward STEM Project-Based Learning and Major Selection *

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Korean Students' Attitudes toward STEM Project-Based Learning and Major Selection *

Article excerpt

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

Korean society is currently facing challenges in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. First, a trend toward avoiding STEM majors, which indicates the majors relating to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, has persisted for the last 15 years; this has caused workforce deficits in STEM fields. Due to the lack of STEM professionals, many small- and medium-sized businesses requiring STEM knowledge and skills in Korea have been unable to fill open positions (Shim, 2012). Another difficulty that Korean society has confronted is that promising high school students have been more likely to select majors in medicine and medical science rather than pure mathematics or science majors (Choi & Lee, 2008). As STEM fields are pivotal for vitalizing the national economy, it is necessary to ensure that high-quality students with great leadership potential select STEM professions. At present, however, many students with an aptitude for STEM majors are choosing to pursue majors in other fields. This is likely to cause severe problems not only in the present but also in the future (Choi & Lee, 2008).

The current STEM education system in Korea does not meet domestic demands for STEM labor. International test results (e.g., from the Programme for International Student Assessment [PISA] and the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study [TIMSS]) have indicated that Korean students have less positive attitudes toward learning mathematics and science compared with students in other countries, although Korean students have ranked within the top five participating countries in terms of academic achievement in these fields. Studies pointed out that Korean students' negative attitudes toward learning mathematics and science derive from the traditional instructions commonly implemented in Korean classrooms and focusing on an algorithmic approach, which indicates an instructional approach leading students to simply memorize mathematics algorithms and not enough to make sense of the background processes (Cho & Kim, 2013; Kim, 2012). With the decline of students' interest in mathematics and science and the increase in negative attitudes toward learning mathematics and science, fewer students are choosing STEM majors at the college level.

To encourage students to choose STEM majors at the post-secondary level, it is important to establish learning environments that stimulate student interest in STEM majors (Lent, Sheu, Gloster, & Wilkins, 2010; Wang, 2013). According to the social cognitive career theory (SCCT; Bandura, 1986; Lent et al., 2010), students' interests influence their academic and career choices, as do self-efficacy beliefs, outcome expectations, environmental supports and barriers, and choice actions. In other words, learning environments that boost student interest may affect students' academic intentions and, in turn, what they finally decide regarding a major. Therefore, it is critical for educators and policymakers to realize that major selection can be guided by school-based educational efforts.

Project-based learning (PBL) is one instructional approach that has been commonly used in STEM classrooms. Studies have examined the positive impacts of PBL on student interest in STEM disciplines (Baran & Maskan, 2010; Domínguez & Jaime, 2010; Johnson, Johnson, & Holubec, 1998; Kaldi, Filippatou, & Govaris, 2011; van Rooij, 2009; Veenman, Kenter, & Post 2000). However, no studies have investigated how PBL stimulated students' interest in STEM disciplines, which in turn, influenced their major selection. In addition, studies have analyzed neither which PBL factors affect students in terms of academic choice nor how PBL factors work in relation to each other. Therefore, the current study examines whether and how instructional strategies utilizing PBL approaches affect students in their intent to pursue a STEM major. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.