"This is not a sex-education class, this is biology!": students' regulation of their emotions in science

Tomas, Louisa, and Rigano, Donna (2018) "This is not a sex-education class, this is biology!": students' regulation of their emotions in science. In: Ritchie, Stephen M., and Tobin, Kenneth, (eds.) Eventful Learning: learner emotions. Bold Visions in Educational Research, 61 . Brill, Rotterdam, Netherlands, pp. 157-169.

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The arousal of negative emotions like frustration, embarrassment, disgust, shame and even anger are commonplace in science classrooms. In spite of teachers’ best efforts to provide engaging learning experiences that stimulate students’ curiosity and interest, and evoke positive emotions like enjoyment and happiness, everyday occurrences can lead to negative experiences: a poor result on a science test, disagreements during group work, not understanding a new concept, or even sitting through a mundane lesson. In circumstances such as these, students must regulate their negative emotions so that they remain engaged and ready to learn. In this chapter, we draw upon James Gross’ (1998) process model of emotion regulation to examine the emotion regulation strategies employed by Year 8 students in two different cases, in order to manage negative emotions like frustration, anger, embarrassment and shame as they learnt about two different controversial issues in science, coal seam gas mining and assisted reproductive technology. In the first case, students intrinsically regulated negative emotions like frustration, elicited by an ongoing group work task, by thinking differently about the challenges of working collaboratively. In the second case, students employed other strategies to deal with the embarrassment they experienced during a lesson on human reproduction, like choosing to divert their attention and acknowledging that there was nothing to be embarrassed about. In this class, the science teacher also played an important role in helping some students to manage their shame, disgust, and embarrassment extrinsically. In this example, the teacher's ability to identify how her students were feeling was important. To this end, we also outline a key data source for our research and discuss its utility in the science classroom: the emotion diary, a self-report instrument for identifying students' emotions. The findings of our research highlight the different ways in which students' emotions can be elicited in the science classroom, and that when learning about controversial issues, it's not always the issue itself that elicits the strongest feelings. At the end of the chapter, we discuss the implications of our research for supporting students' emotion regulation in the science classroom, and identify avenues for further research.

Item ID: 49617
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-90-04-37788-2
Keywords: emotion, school science, emotion regulation, emotion diary, sex education
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Date Deposited: 25 Jul 2017 01:13
FoR Codes: 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390306 Secondary education @ 50%
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390113 Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy @ 50%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930104 Moral and Social Development (incl. Affect) @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 50%
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