Middle School Students’ Conceptualization of Science Classroom Belonging Between Curricular Contexts

2019-06-10T19:22:01Z (GMT) by Temitope F Adeoye
The purpose of this study was to examine belonging at classroom and academic domain levels, extending research that has primarily investigated general school and classroom-level belonging. This examination accounts for the context-specific, instructional, and domain experiences of students’ belonging. More specifically, the goals of the research were to investigate the relations between belonging in science class with engagement, and to contrast students’ perspectives of science classroom belonging in traditional compared to inquiry curricular contexts. Middle school students from traditional and inquiry science contexts completed self-reported measures of science classroom belonging and science engagement. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to evaluate students’ experiences of belonging in science class. Science classroom belonging was correlated with science engagement, with students from inquiry contexts reporting higher belonging and engagement quality. In both contexts, students reported common social, academic and contextual sources of belonging, with additional emphasis on content-based and interpersonal interactions. In comparing justifications between contexts on the role of competence for experienced belonging, students in traditional contexts reflected on self-focused, intrapersonal competence, while students in inquiry contexts reflected on interpersonal forms of competence. Students’ differentiated reports and conceptualization of belonging were related to contextual supports for involvement in authentic disciplinary practice and peer responsiveness.