The decreasing number of young students pursuing science careers has become a matter of societal concern worldwide, particularly in China. Apprentice approach has been practiced as effective efforts to promote students’ pursuit of science careers. However, there is comparatively less research into understanding the effects of apprenticeship-related programs on secondary school students’ pursuit of science careers in general and no relevant research in China in particular.
Prof. CHEN Jin and his students of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) attempted to examine and understand the impact of a quasi-apprenticeship program on Chinese secondary school students’ career intention of becoming a biologist, using the theory of planned behavior (TPB) model.
They got their study published in Research in Science Education.
The researchers developed and tested a quasi-apprenticeship program called the ‘Tropical Rainforest Exploration Program’ (TREP) in XTBG. With the format of a residential camp, the program provided secondary school students with approximately three days of scientific experiences focusing on the areas of biodiversity and ecology in the tropical rainforest.
They used an explanatory mixed methods approach and collected both quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the efficacy of the program on 319 seventh- and eighth-grade Chinese students from 15 public schools in Beijing.
Both quantitative and qualitative findings indicated that students’ perceptions and career intention of becoming a biologist were increased as a result of attending the quasi-apprenticeship program.
“Our findings suggest that participation in the program can increase students’ attitudes, subjective norms, science self-efficacy, and career intention” said Prof. CHEN Jin, principal investigator of the study.
“The impact of the program on student career intention could be explained by changes in subjective norms and science self-efficacy”, said CHEN.
Prof. CHEN Jin Ph.D Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China