Metacognition within physical sciences classrooms in Two KwaZulu-Natal Districts
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For South Africa to become a leader in science and technology, it needs to produce many world-class scientists. South African education falls short of that goal because most learners are indigenous learners and those pursuing science as a field of study are relatively few. Furthermore, many of these indigenous learners who study Physical Science are under-achieving. Many studies show that raising attainment in science depends crucially on the promotion of metacognitive skills. The research proceeded on the reasonable assumption that low levels of metacognitive ability may be a primary reason for the indigenous learners' substandard performance in Physical Science. To improve the status quo and start to meet the goal of producing world-class scientists, this should be addressed as a matter of urgency. The objective of this research was to analyse the state of metacognition of learners in South African Physical Science classrooms to infer and exhort workable teaching and learning strategies to improve learners' metacognitive skills, which might improve their Physical Science results. To this end, the research enquiry was conducted as follows: Assessment of the current level of metacognition in a sample of Physical Science classes at two KwaZulu-Natal districts of South African schools; relating the observed level of metacognition to the attainment scores of the Physical Science learners in the sample. The research question was answered through a triangulation model of mixed methods design, addressing both learners and their teachers. The respondents completed a Metacognitive Awareness Inventory, a Science Attitude Questionnaire, and a Metacognitive Awareness Inventory for teachers. Data sets were extracted from the analysis of the questionnaires, curriculum documents, science notebooks, examination results, interviewed with respondents, and observed lessons. The research results were viewed through a socio-cultural lens, concentrating on the impact of culture on metacognitive awareness. The results indicated a low standard of metacognition in the selected samples, which led to conclusions that formed the basis of the proposed workable solutions to the research problem.
- Education