An influence of extracurricular activities on the development of cognitive interest in chemistry in students of the 9th grade of the secondary school

Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

Authors:
Afanasenkova Irina, East Kazakhstan State University in honor of S. Amanzholov, Kazakhstan
Popova Marina, East Kazakhstan State University in honor of S. Amanzholov, Kazakhstan

Education in comprehensive schools of the Republic of Kazakhstan is realized because of the State Educational Standard of the general secondary education. "Chemistry" as a school subject is one of the components of the basic curriculum of the general secondary education in the Republic of Kazakhstan. In accordance with the State Educational Standard very important tasks are given to methodologists, teachers and psychologists. They include the need to improve methods of teaching, to activate process of learning, acquiring knowledge and working independently by students, to teach how to apply acquired knowledge to solve practical, theoretical and calculating problems and to prepare students for their professional lives.

However the learning process will not be successful if a student does not take interest in it. Information that does not interest a student or was forced to learn will soon be forgotten, when information that interests him/her will be remembered for a long time and can be easily reproduced. Interest, however, defines not only the durability of the acquired knowledge, but also its efficiency, mobility and application in the future. A student's interest in learning helps him/her overcome difficulties and achieve success.

Having analyzed different sources, we found out that the issue of formation of cognitive interest is broadly covered. (G.I. Schukina, N.G. Morozova, A.K. Markova and others).

In our research we are using the term "cognitive interest" offered by G.I. Schukina. In methodical publications (such as written by L.B. Goatskin, V.M. Nazarenko, A.F. Hrustalev, E.I. Kozhanova, B.V. Martynenko, A.M. Radeckiy and others) the teachers specifically emphasize how to instill interest in Chemistry in students.

However, it should be noted that the level of students' interest in Chemistry is not high.

The results of survey conducted among students of the 9th grade in the secondary school showed that 23.8% of students were interested in learning, while 71.38% of respondents were sure that they could do even better at school.

One of the reasons why they were not motivated to do good at school was lack of interest (40.5%). Therefore, the students realized the influence of interest on effective learning.

We were curious what subjects the students considered to be their favorite. The majority of respondents preferred History (27.8%), Literature (20.25%), Algebra (18.98%). And only 9.5% indicated Chemistry.

It is somehow reflected in a small number of students choosing Chemistry as an elective subject in the Unified National Test.

There are more publications on the development of methods to form interest in the classroom than in a different environment (in particular in extracurricular activities on Chemistry).

Thus, all stated above reasons motivated us to research the influence of different kinds of extracurricular activities on the development of cognitive interest in students in learning Chemistry at a secondary school.

As a part of our research we conducted a survey among Chemistry teachers and students to identify the most popular kinds of extracurricular activities.

Having analyzed the data collected in the survey we came to a conclusion that teachers were more interested in giving individual tasks, while students preferred group work as an out-of-class activity. Probably, it could be explained by lack of interest in learning Chemistry.

So, the purpose of our research is to determine the influence of a group work as an extracurricular activity on the students' interest in learning Chemistry at the secondary school. The object of our research is the students' learning process at the secondary school while learning the course of inorganic and organic Chemistry. The subject of our research is a group work as an extracurricular activity - one of the ways to instill and develop cognitive interest. As a hypothesis of our research we expect that specially-organized group work as an extracurricular activity will develop cognitive interest in Chemistry in students.

The experiment was conducted in school - gymnasium #11 (Ust Kame-nogorsk city). The following groups took part: experimental group - 30 students, focus group - 30 students. The teachers of gymnasium #11 participated in the research at the diagnostic stage.

To achieve the goal stated above, we used the following research methods: a questionnaire; pedagogical experiment; modeling; theoretical analysis and syntheses; proxy-metric methods; self-assessment; mathematical and statistical data processing.

The research was divided into four stages. The first stage was statistical.

At this stage we used a questionnaire to define the number of students (percentage ratio), who had interest in Chemistry in the experimental and focus groups.

Besides that, we defined the average grade of the students. It was 3.3 out of 5 possible.

The second stage was a theoretical modeling stage. At this stage we analyzed different sources to determine criteria of interest development.

The main criteria to assess increased interest in learning can be students' active participation and their emotional reactions towards the subject. We couldn't use the second criterion since our study did not include psychological aspects.

Concerning academic interest, there is data, relating it to the level of acquired knowledge and general learning skills. The ratio is 0.7 (close to strictly linear dependency). So, the higher the level of acquired knowledge is the higher is a cognitive interest.

Consequently, we can judge the level of the cognitive interest of a student by his/her grades. That is why from multiple components, defining active participation of a student, which is our interest criterion we will use only one - how well the students do in class, assessed in the form of a grade.

We will also use self-assessment of the students as the second criterion. Self-assessment will be defined by means of a survey.

In our research, we used the description of interest, given by N.G. Morozova. She suggests that an interest in all its types and at all stages of its development has three constant characteristics: positive attitude towards an activity, existence of a cognitive side of this attitude (joy from learning and obtaining the knowledge), presence of an ingenious motive, driven from the activity itself (the activity itself allures and encourages to learn).

Having analyzed several sources, we defined that learning in the form of a game is one of the most effective and frequently-practiced methods used to develop interest in students' learning.

It is quite obvious as the main characteristics of a game, such as "joy from a procedure", elated mood (S.A. Smakov) coincide with the characteristics of an interest.

With the account of general principles of extracurricular activities (voluntariness, individual learner's needs) we suggested that arranging an extracurricular activity in the form of a game would favorably influence on the development of a cognitive interest. Besides, the important characteristic of a didactic game is that an absolute majority of the students (over 98%) are trying to participate actively in the learning process.

The following types of games can be used in teaching Chemistry to students: a game-exercise, game-journey, game-competition, simulation game (M.I. Rannik, A.A. Tyldsepp, N.E. Kuznetsova, B.P. Bolotinskaya) and etc. We used a game-competition and a simulation game. The students were encouraged to participate in organization of these games: drawing, preparation for experiments, tasks and so on.

The third stage was experimental. At this stage we hold different extracurricular activities on Chemistry such as games called "Chemical quiz", "Court jury", "Parade of elements", "Chemical crossword" with the goal to define influence of a group-work as an extracurricular activity on the level of interest in the subject.

At the fourth stage we estimated influence of a group work as an extracurricular activity on the level of interest in learning Chemistry in the 9th grade.

Having analyzed the results of the experiment we can make a conclusion that the level of interest in the experimental group differs significantly from that of the focus group. (A complex coefficient of Student and a coefficient of Fisher were calculated).

Change in the students' level of interest in the subject before and after the pedagogical experiment is reflected in figure 1.

1 - before the experiment 2 - after the experiment

Figure 1 - Diagram depicting dynamics of the students' interest in the subject

After the experiment the level of interest in the subject increased and turned out to be the following (at P = 0.95): average ( ) - in the experimental group, low ( ) - in the focus group. As variance in the experimental group decreased after the pedagogical experiment, it shows that these methods are more favorable to even out individual differences in developing students' interest than employment of traditional learning styles.

Having analyzed the results of a survey we made a conclusion that the level of students' interest in Chemistry in the experimental group increased by 24 %, while in the focus group it remained unchanged.

Summarizing the results of the theoretical and experimental parts of the research we can draw the following conclusions:

1) There is a difference in preferences of Chemistry teachers and students in the type of extracurricular activities they like. Students prefer to be engaged in group work, while teachers prefer to give individual tasks.

2) Several group-work activities were designed aiming to increase students' interest in Chemistry.

3) Having used an experiment, we proved that group work as an extracurricular activity while learning Chemistry in the 9th grade gave the following positive results:

a) it developed an interest in the subject;

b) it increased general progress in the subject.

In conclusion, on the grounds of the data obtained in this pedagogical experi ment we can state that we proved our hypothesis and that extracurricular activities we developed were productive and we could answer the stated question.

REFERENCES

1. Morozova, N.G. (1979). [To a teacher about cognitive interest]. Moscow: Znaniye, p. 47.

2. Schukina, G.I. (1988). [Pedagogical problems of forming students' cognitive interest]. Moscow: Pedagogika, p.203.

3. Markova, A.K. (1990). [Formation of learning motivations]. Moscow: Prosveschenie, p.191.

4. Kozlova, L.B. (1998). [Let's play]. [Chemistry at school], # 5, pp. 44-46.

5. Kozhanova, E.A. (1995). [As I make lesson-game]. [Chemistry at school], #6, pp.21-23.

6. Kulko, V.A., Tsehmistrova, T.D. (1983). [Formation learning skills among students]. Moscow, p.80.



Table of contents: The Kazakh-American Free University Academic Journal №4 - 2012

  
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