Unveiling knowledge gaps: an investigation into the design and implementation of video hooks in the science classroom
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Both internationally and in Ireland, the role science plays in the advancement of economic and technological endeavours cannot be undervalued. Nevertheless, in developed countries, established trends of decreasing student numbers are a continual point of concern. In response, efforts to influence student subject choices, guided toward the sciences and in particular physics, are commonplace. Modern research positions, underscore the key capacity of interest and engagement as key affective and cognitive constructs that can mediate subject selection. Furthermore, the quality and content of instruction are denoted as the largest determinants of the former constructs. The given context affords the necessity and opportunity to examine pedagogical methodologies that augment interest and engagement situated in the science classroom. This study examines hooks. Hooks represent an area of instruction that has been traditionally understudied in educational literature, yet, are central aspects of instructional frameworks and colloquially present in teachers’ toolkits. Based on the limited literature, they can be defined as a short instructional method utilised at the beginning of instruction to augment interest, engagement and attention among the student body. Employing a Design-Based Research (DBR) methodology, in which both theory and design are advanced in light of practical findings resultant from authentic classroom contexts, this research sets out to explore nascent research areas, including the design, construction and implementation of hooks, a bespoke instructional method/tool grounded in the requirements of all stakeholders in the science classroom. In line with the DBR process, a theoretically informed design; the physics video hook artefact was systematically placed in the naturalistic classroom context using three iterations of interventions, coupled with appropriate data collection tools over a period of four years. In sum, 43 interventions were enacted with 12 teachers and their respective students. The results obtained indicate that the implementation of hooks resonated more so with teachers’ pragmatic classroom requirements rather than the theoretical derivations of hook based pedagogies. Placing the video hook design artefact at the start of the lesson as an all-encompassing hook, proved ineffective in terms of the predicted hook impact of attention, interest and engagement. The hook required integration into the wider pedagogy as teacher participants employed a variety of teaching methods with the design artefact to promote inquiry, consolidation of learning and revision. With this, the study theoretically forwards the xiv previous definition of hooks to accommodate ‘para-hooks’, a hook that is not used as an introductory moment within instruction. Emergent with this finding was the key role of developing students’ prior knowledge as the ‘hinge’ around which the desired hook reaction of interest, engagement and attention could be created. The contribution aligns with modern theories pertaining to the formation of knowledge gaps through discrepancy, a fundamental design asset of the hooks. Legitimating findings, students indicated that the phenomena displayed in the video hooks were the most interesting aspects of their respective lessons. The study ends with implications and recommendations derived from these conclusions.
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