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Abstract Title: Meta-affective learning
Abstract: We present an analysis of interview data and written work from a freshman engineering student, Marya, to illustrate the substantive role of affect in her learning experiences within a reformed introductory physics course. Marya described how, through this course, she shifted from being intimidated by physics to feeling excited about and empowered to do physics. We claim that at the heart of Marya's transformation is a shift in her attitudes and dispositions with respect to struggle, confusion, and uncertainty in the doing of science. We see this shift as an example of meta-affective learning-- i.e., the development of productive feelings and dispositions for navigating intellectual challenges. Marya described how she came to see physics as a pursuit of understanding rather than being about absolutes. Correspondingly, she shifted from feeling anxious about "being wrong" to taking pleasure in exploring ideas and making discoveries. Marya's transformation invites us to attend carefully to the role of meta-affect in science, and to foster students' productive dispositions with respect to struggle, confusion, and uncertainty as an important target in science education.
Abstract Type: Symposium Talk
Parallel Session: Iteration, Ownership, and Emotions: Examining How Classroom Experiences in Physics Move Outside the Classroom

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Jen Radoff
Tufts University
and Co-Presenter(s)
Lama Jaber, Florida State University
David Hammer, Tufts University