• Kalle JuutiEmail author
  • Jari Lavonen
  • Anna Uitto
  • Reijo Byman
  • Veijo Meisalo


Students find science relevant to society, but they do not find school science interesting. This survey study analyzes Finnish grade 9 students’ actual experiences with science teaching methods and their preferences for how they would like to study science. The survey data were collected from 3,626 grade 9 students (1,772 girls and 1,832 boys) across randomly sampled secondary schools. Students were asked to evaluate how often a particular teaching method is used in science (chemistry and physics) teaching and how often they would like to see the teaching method used. Data were analyzed using nonparametric tests. Boys seemed to be more satisfied with current and traditional science teaching methods like direct teaching, solving basic problems, reading textbooks, and conducting practical work, while girls desired more discussion. Students who are interested in school science or think that school science is relevant in everyday life would like more creative activities such as brainstorming and project work. Results indicated that understanding the connection between student interest and teaching method preferences, especially interpreting interested students’ desire for creative activities, are important aspects for future research.

Key words

creativity interest nonparametric secondary school survey teaching methods 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, R. D. (2007). Inquiry as an organizing theme for science curricula. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education (pp. 807–830). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  2. Aukrust, V. G. (2008). Boys’ and girls’ conversational participation across four grade levels in Norwegian classrooms: Taking the floor or being given the floor? Gender and Education, 20(3), 237–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bahar, M. (2003). The effects of motivational styles on group work and discussion-based seminars. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 47, 461–473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bennett, J., Lubben, F., Hogarth, S., & Campbell, B. (2004). A systematic review of the use of small-group discussions in science teaching with students aged 11–18, and their effects on students’ understanding in science or attitude to science. In Research Evidence in Education Library. London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education.Google Scholar
  5. Braund, M., & Reiss, M. (2006). Towards a more authentic science curriculum: The contribution of out-of-school learning. International Journal of Science Education, 28(12), 1373–1388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Byrne, M. S., & Johnstone, A. H. (1988). How to make science relevant. School Science Review, 70(251), 43–46.Google Scholar
  7. Carlone, H. B. (2003). Innovative science within and against a culture of “achievement”. Science Education, 87, 307–328.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Donnelly, J. F., & Jenkins, E. W. (2001). Science education: Policy, professionalism and change. London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar
  9. Durik, A. M., & Harackiewicz, J. M. (2007). Different strokes for different folks: How individual interest moderates the effects of situational factors on task interest. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99, 597–610.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fink, A., & Jacqueline, K. (2005). How to conduct surveys: A step-by-step guide (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  11. Finnish National Board of Education. (2004). Core curriculum for basic education. Helsinki: Finnish National Board of Education. Retrieved from,27598,37840,72101,72106.
  12. Fisher, R. (2005). Teaching children to think. Cheltenham: Nelson Thornes.Google Scholar
  13. Frailich, M., Kesner, M., & Hofstein, A. (2007). The influence of web-based chemistry learning on students’ perceptions, attitudes, and achievements. Research in Science & Technological Education, 25(2), 179–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Geelan, D. R. (1997). Weaving narrative nets to capture school science classrooms. Research in Science Education, 27(4), 553–563.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Haney, J. J., Czerniak, C. M., & Lumpe, A. T. (1996). Teacher beliefs and intentions regarding the implementation of science education reform strands. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 33, 971–993.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Häussler, P., & Hoffman, L. (2000). A curricular frame for physics education: Development comparison with students’ interest, and impact on students’ achievement and self-concept. Science Education, 84(6), 689–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hidi, S., & Renninger, K. A. (2006). The four-phase model of interest development. Educational Psychologist, 4(2), 111–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., & Meisalo, V. (2005). Issues on school e-laboratories in science teaching: Virtuality, reality and gender. In J.-P. Courtiat, C. Davarakis & T. Villemur (Eds.), Proceedings of WS 2, the 18th IFIP World Computer Congress on technology enhanced learning (pp. 43–58). New York: Springer.Google Scholar
  19. Juuti, K., Lavonen, J., Uitto, A., Byman, R., & Meisalo, V. (2004). Students’ reasons to choose or reject physics. In E. Mecholová (Ed.), Proceedings of selected papers of the GIREP 2004 Conference on teaching and learning physics in new contexts (pp. 185–186). Ostrava: University of Ostrava.Google Scholar
  20. Koballa, T. R., Jr., & Glynn, S. M. (2007). Attitudinal and motivational constructs in science learning. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  21. Krapp, A. (2003). Interest and human development: An educational–psychological perspective. British Journal of Educational Psychology Monograph Series II: Psychological Aspects of Education—Current Trends, Development and Motivation, 1(1), 57–84.Google Scholar
  22. Lavonen, J. (2008). Scientific literacy assessment. In J. Hautamäki, E. Harjunen, A. Hautamäki, T. Karjalainen, S. Kupiainen, S. Laaksonen, et al. (Eds.), PISA06 Finland. Analyses, reflections and explanations. Helsinki: Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  23. Lavonen, J., Angell, C., Byman, R., Henriksen, E., & Koponen, I. (2007). Social interaction in upper secondary physics classrooms in Finland and Norway: A survey of students’ expectations. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 51(1), 81–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lavonen, J., Juuti, K., Uitto, A., Meisalo, V., & Byman, R. (2005). Attractiveness of science education in the Finnish comprehensive school. In A. Manninen, K. Miettinen & K. Kiviniemi (Eds.), Research findings on young people’s perceptions of technology and science education: MIRROR results and good practises (pp. 5–30). Helsinki: Technology Industries of Finland. Retrieved from Google Scholar
  25. Lavonen, J., & Meisalo, V. (n.d.). Matemaattis-luonnontieteellisten aineiden työtapaopas [Teaching methods in mathematics and science]. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from In Finnish.
  26. Leach, J., & Scott, P. (2000). Children’s thinking, learning, teaching and constructivism. In M. Monk & J. Osborne (Eds.), Good practice in science teaching: What research has to say (pp. 41–54). Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Mead, G. H. (1909). Teaching of science in college. Science, 24, 390–397.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Mortimer, E. F., & Scott, P. H. (2003). Meaning making in secondary science classroom. Philadelphia: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Myers, R., & Fouts, J. T. (1992). A cluster analysis of high school science classroom environments and attitude toward science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 29(9), 929–937.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Norris, N., Asplund, R., MacDonald, B., Schostak, J., & Zamorski, B. (1996). An independent evaluation of comprehensive curriculum reform in Finland. Helsinki: Finnish National Board of Education.Google Scholar
  31. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2004). First results from PISA 2003 executive summary. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from
  32. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2007). PISA 2006: Science competencies for tomorrow’s world executive summary. Paris: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Retrieved from
  33. Oser, F. K., & Baeriswyl, F. J. (2001). Choreographies of teaching: Bridging instruction to learning. In V. Richardson (Ed.), AERA’s handbook of research on teaching (4th ed., pp. 1031–1065). Washington: American Educational Research Association.Google Scholar
  34. Reeve, J. (2002). Self-determination theory applied to educational settings. In E. L. Deci & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Handbook of self-determination research (pp. 183–203). Rochester: University of Rochester Press.Google Scholar
  35. Resnick, L. B. (1987). Learning in school and out. Educational Researcher, 16(9), 13–20.Google Scholar
  36. Schreiner, C., & Sjøberg, S. (2004). Sowing the seeds of ROSE: Background, rationale, questionnaire development and data collection for ROSE (The Relevance of Science Education)—A comparative study of students’ views of science and science education (Acta Didactica 4/2004). Oslo: Department of Teacher Education and School Development, University of Oslo.Google Scholar
  37. Schreiner, C., & Sjøberg, S. (2007). Science education and youth’s identity construction—Two incompatible projects? In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon & R. Gunstone (Eds.), The re-emergence of values in the science curriculum. Rotterdam: Sense.Google Scholar
  38. Scott, P. (1998). Teacher talk and meaning making in science classrooms: A Vygotskian analysis and review. Studies in Science Education, 32, 45–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Simola, H. (2005). The Finnish miracle of PISA: Historical and sociological remarks on teaching and teacher education. Comparative Education, 41(4), 455–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stokking, K. M. (2000). Predicting the choice of physics in secondary education. International Journal of Science Education, 22, 1261–1283.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Treagust, D. F. (2007). General instructional methods and strategies. In S. K. Abell & N. G. Lederman (Eds.), Handbook of research on science education. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  42. Tynjälä, P. (1999). Towards expert knowledge? A comparison between a constructivist and a traditional learning environment in university. International Journal of Educational Research, 31(5), 357–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Välijärvi, J., Kupari, P., Linnakylä, P., Reinikainen, P., Sulkunen, S., Törnroos, J., et al. (2007). The Finnish success in PISA—And some reasons behind it. Jyväskylä: Institute for Educational Research.Google Scholar
  44. Wellington, J. (1998). Practical work in science. In J. Wellington (Ed.), Practical work in school science: Which way now? (pp. 3–15). London: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Woolnough, B. (1994). Effective science teaching. Buckingham: Open University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© National Science Council, Taiwan 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kalle Juuti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jari Lavonen
    • 1
  • Anna Uitto
    • 1
  • Reijo Byman
    • 1
  • Veijo Meisalo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Sciences of EducationUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

Personalised recommendations