The school year has started again. The high school in my neighborhood is bustling with activity again. The marching band practices on the parking lot early in the morning. Cars with teenage drivers converge on the school.
High school is interesting, because it is the first time that students have the chance to start picking their own classes. They have the change to determine the difficulty of the classes they want to take and they have some flexibility in the number of classes that they take in different subject areas.
This flexibility is particularly important when it comes to math and science classes. It is generally agreed that the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are important for the economy. Students trained in these subjects go on to earn high salaries and to contribute to the growth of new businesses.
Yet, many students decide not to pursue difficult science and math classes in high school. These early choices have a lasting influence, because when these students go to college, they continue to stay away from science and math.
What can be done to get students to take more science and math?
One possibility would be to try to convince students that science and math are fun. Certainly, there are many people who find a lot of intrinsic enjoyment in solving math problems and in pursuing new knowledge through science. And according to psychologist Jacquelynne Eccles, students will gravitate toward classes that they enjoy.
The problem is that it can be difficult to convince a student who has not enjoyed math and science classes in the past that math and science are actually fun. And anyone who has tried to push a teenager to do something that he or she does not want to do knows how difficult that can be.
Written By: Art Markman, Ph.D.continue to source article at psychologytoday.com