Enhancing physics students’ motivation in concept learning through context-rich analogies

An important component of science learning in general and physics learning in particular is mastery of concepts. The physics curriculum incorporates many abstract concepts which, if not effectively grasped by students form a barrier to their further learning. Research in concept learning reveals that analogy is an efficacious instructional strategy in facilitating conceptual change within a constructivist paradigm. However, in most non-Western contexts, most of the analogies used by educators have merely replicated analogical models fashioned for teaching science within Western classrooms. Motivation is an important psychological dimension in achievement of expected learning outcomes in science. The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of analogies derived from learners’ socio-cultural context in facilitating their motivation to learn physics concepts. In particular, the study employed a traditional dance analogy to teach aspects of physical heat concepts. Learners’ motivation was compared to that of another set of learners taught using the usual conventional methods. Using the Solomon Four Non-equivalent Control Group design, data were collected from Form One (Grade 9) students in four secondary schools in Nyandarua County, Kenya. The instrument comprised a students’ motivation questionnaire (SMQ) in two forms, one for use as pretest and the other as posttest. The two were systematically assessed for validity and reliability by involving experts in Science Education in Laikipia University and through pilot study. The hypothesis was tested using student’s t-test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) at an alpha level of .05. Results showed that students taught using the dance analogy developed significantly higher motivation compared to those taught using conventional methods. Based on the finding, the researchers conclude that analogies based on learners’ socio-cultural contexts are an effective way of enhancing learners’ motivation during instruction. Therefore, teachers should often consider socio-cultural knowledge as the basis for selecting and designing analogies to enhance learners’ motivation in concept learning in physics.

Peter Githae Kaboro and Rose Nyambura
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Int J Inf Res Rev
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David Johnson
Jessica Parker
Sarah Conor
John Franklin