Confronting Science Anxiety Through ‘in Dialogue with Nature’ – A Science Core-Text General Education Course

Science anxiety is a common phenomenon among students taking traditional science courses, including some science-related general education courses. It has been observed that science anxiety hinders students from effective scientific literacy and confident application of science skills to solve problems. ‘In Dialogue with Nature’ (UGFN1000) is a compulsory general education course for undergraduates of The Chinese University of Hong Kong. This course encourages students to engage in reading science texts and peer discussion about science-related issues, thereby clarifying misconceptions and building up confidence in seeing things from a scientific perspective. This study aims at investigating the change in students’ science anxiety after they have taken UGFN1000, hence it brings insights into pedagogical development that could reduce students’ science anxiety and hence improve their learning efficiency. We applied the “Science Anxiety Questionnaire” (SAQ) developed by Alvaro (1978) and found that science anxiety could be related to students’ gender, faculty, and even the gender of the teacher. Findings from focus group interview suggested that the primary source of science anxiety roots in the ‘fear of getting it wrong’. Preliminary analysis showed that UGFN1000 has made science more ‘friendly’ to students, and reduced the emotional burden of reading scientific articles. Students have also developed more concern for the world scientific issues. Several aspects of Nature of Science (NOS) were brought up in focus group interviews. It was hypothesized that better understanding of NOS might be related to lower anxiety towards science.



Author Information
Wan Heng Sandy Hoi, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Wing Hung Wong, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Kam Moon Pang, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Paper Information
Conference: ECE2017
Stream: Education for interdisciplinary thinking

Added on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
This paper is part of the ECE2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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