THE COGNITIVE AND EMOTIONAL DOMAIN TOWARDS STEM COMPETENCIES IN PRIMARY EDUCATION STUDENTS
University of Extremadura (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:Recent research highlights the positive effects of interdisciplinary teaching in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) areas at different levels of education, starting from the early school years. Several studies indicate that, by enhancing these skills in education, the development of key competences is encouraged and higher levels of self-efficacy are generated in students by extrapolating STEM content to everyday situations. However, promoting children's interest in science and technology, as well as enhancing their scientific and technological literacy, can be considered one of the educational paradigms of this century. Recent research reveals the existence of negative emotions and attitudes towards these areas of teaching, especially as students grow older. Specifically, it is increasingly noticeable the decline of students in the post-compulsory stages related to science and technology, as well as the increase in negative emotions and attitudes towards these areas in the students at these educational levels. In this research an analysis is carried out regarding STEM competencies at the cognitive, emotional and aptitudinal levels in Primary Education students. The general objectives of the research have been, on the one hand, to diagnose the level of STEM knowledge acquired by the students during their primary education (Objective 1) and, on the other hand, to analyse the affective, emotional and aptitudinal level that the students present towards the different fields that compose the educational stage (Objective 2). The sample, selected at random from a variety of schools, consisted of 801 pupils aged between 8 and 12. As a measurement instrument, closed response questionnaires were designed based on previous work by our research group. In order to achieve Objective 1, a questionnaire was designed consisting of several questions on STEM content, some of them of a theoretical and conceptual nature and others of a competence nature. In order to achieve Objective 2, a questionnaire was developed to assess the students' level of self-efficacy in different scientific-technological activities and, in turn, the affective component towards these practical situations. The descriptive and inferential statistical analysis carried out suggests that there are no statistically significant cognitive, competential or emotional differences according to the gender variable. With respect to the cognitive domain, the results reveal that the levels of STEM knowledge in the population under study can be clearly improved, although better grades are observed in those questions related to the application of STEM content to daily life. Specifically, with regard to the level of self-efficacy, there is a high level of competence when it comes to resolving scientific activities. With regard to the emotional variable, positive emotions predominate over negative emotions in students of this age and a positive attitude towards solving tasks or problems in which STEM skills are essential. Based on the results, the use of innovative teaching strategies in these areas of competence is necessary to promote long-term scientific and technological literacy. The need to promote STEM skills literacy from the earliest stages of schooling, which are essential for present and future society, is highlighted.
Keywords: Primary education, STEM, cognitive domain, emotions, skills, scientific literacy, scientific literacy.