Who wants to be a scientist in South Korea: assessing role model influences on Korean students’ perceptions of science and scientists

Lee Kenneth Jones, Rebecca L. Hite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Students from Eastern countries score well on international assessments in science yet lack interest in pursuing science careers. Several factors play into students’ perceptions of science and scientists, including their home life and attributes of the society in which they live (habitus and capital). One understudied means of examining this issue is exploring the extent to which these perceptions relate to students’ role model ideations of scientists, especially among non-western student populations. This paper explores 159 South Korean students’ perceptions of science and scientists at two private K-12 schools in South Korea using an adapted form of the Draw-a-Scientist Test. Using the motivational theory of role modeling (MTRM) as a theoretical framework, data was coded from surveys using the three MTRM constructs: goal embodiment, attainability, and desirability. Comparisons were made between schools, genders, across age ranges, and from their direct and indirect knowledge sources of scientists using thematic coding and chi-square analysis. Reported sources of scientists were predominantly sourced from popular media. Although the results suggest no significant difference between how science role models were perceived or ideated between schools or genders, sampled students viewed scientists as embodying goals of intelligence with low ideations of attainability and desirability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2674-2695
Number of pages22
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume42
Issue number16
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • DAST
  • East Asia
  • K-12
  • Role modeling
  • motivation
  • perception
  • science aspirations
  • science education

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