Tiffany Dial (MAT Secondary Science Education)
PERCEPTIONS OF SCIENCE COURSES BY ACADEMICALLY STRUGGLING STUDENTS IN A BIOLOGY TUTORING PROGRAM
The purpose of this study was to understand the identities of students who were struggling academically in biology, a general education requirement that was a part of their program. I have been tutoring in science for student support services at a medium size public university in the southeastern part of the United States. For the past two years I have noticed that many non-science majors have difficulty in these biology general education courses. In order to better understand the reasons for these academic struggles, I administered questionnaires and conducted open-ended interviews regarding the student’s attitudes of biology and their experiences in tutoring. The interviews were conducted of seven students who had received tutoring from me during the current academic year. I was interested in my students’ perceptions of biology as well as their views of self- identity related to science. After administering the questionnaires, I interviewed each student in-depth for approximately thirty minutes. These interviews were recorded and transcribed. After analyzing the questionnaires and open-ended answers, the results indicated that the students felt tutoring improved their general knowledge and helped them to understand concepts with less discomfort than studying by themselves. The techniques that I used in my tutoring program that proved most useful were diagramming, using real world examples, in-depth questioning, and allowing more time for students to answer their questions. Students expressed that the explicit teaching of study skills helped them to better organize their learning. Students used their textbook more and learned to read how to read and use them to study. These results indicated that tutoring for struggling students in biology was important to improving their self-identity regarding success in this subject.
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
© The University of North Carolina at Pembroke
PO Box 1510 Pembroke, NC 28372-1510 • 910.521.6000