Title page for ETD etd-09282007-153256

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Smit, Francina Albertina
Email smit@mweb.co.za
URN etd-09282007-153256
Document Title The effect of a girl-friendly science curriculum unit on the attitude of girls towards science
Degree MEd (Science and Technology Education)
Department Curriculum Studies
Advisor Name Title
Dr A Hattingh
  • cognitive development orientation
  • inquiry approach
  • social value orientation
  • pragmatic perspectives
  • Maslow's humanistic
  • constructivist theory
  • attitute
  • social values
  • girl friendly science
  • curriculum
  • classroom practice
Date 2007-04-17
Availability restricted

This study was undertaken to determine whether the implementation of a girl-friendly science unit had an effect on the attitude of girls towards science. In order to determine the above, the researcher developed a complete girl-friendly science unit. A checklist, which consisted of girl-friendly criteria, as defined in the study, was utilised to develop the unit. The complete unit was then implemented by three different teachers, as part of the daily curricular activities of the Grade 5 girls at an Afrikaans Primary school in Gauteng, over a period of six weeks. The boys were only involved for the purpose of behavioural comparisons. All three of the teachers attended a workshop, prior to the implementation, to establish consensus on ‘girl-friendly’ classroom practice and teaching strategies. Several instruments and techniques, such as interviews, questionnaires and observation sheets were used to gather data. The results of the data were analysed to answer the research questions.

An interesting finding that emerged from the data was that the girl friendly unit did have a positive effect on the attitude of girls towards practical work. However, the learning material was not the only factor that had an influence on their attitude towards science. According to the girls, the teachers’ behaviour, classroom practice and other school factors had an even greater influence on their attitude towards science. Two of the three teachers were still discriminating against girls in a very subtle manner and one of the teachers even felt that the girl-friendly unit were a form of reverse discrimination, which in turn filtered through to the learners.

Finally, it can be concluded that the challenge to influence the attitude of girls positively towards science, appear to be more than merely implementing a girl-friendly unit. Teachers, administrators, and school communities should all work together to promote the development of girl-friendly science in order to encourage girls to take science subjects.

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