What can a child's experiences tell us about engineering education activities?

Rebecca Broadbent*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper presents the emergent findings from a current PhD study exploring children's experiences of 'active' engineering education. The study aims to develop a deeper understanding of the outcomes of participation in such activities for children in rural schools, and collects data from the first person perspective to enable this. The literature suggests that career aspirations may be formed by children as young as 8 years, however current debate largely overlooks the experiences of children at this age. The study presented takes a qualitative methodological stance and, adopting an approach based upon grounded theory, uses observations and semi-structured interview data to analyse participation in an engineering activity. The emergent findings suggest that many sources inform a child's knowledge of engineering, contributing to their view of engineering; it is a child's a priori perceptions of engineering and engineers which ultimately 'frames' how they experience organised engineering education activities. Simply, a child's view of their engineering suitability is influenced by a range of factors prior to formal engineering education being introduced. Formal engineering education activities have a role, but often these simply reinforce previously held beliefs. The implications of this finding are of great importance for the field.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017 - Education Excellence for Sustainability, SEFI 2017
PublisherSociété Eropéenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs
Pages1292-1299
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9789899887572
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2017
Event45th Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2017 - Angra do Heroismo, Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal
Duration: 18 Sep 201721 Sep 2017

Conference

Conference45th Annual Conference of the European Society for Engineering Education, SEFI 2017
CountryPortugal
CityAngra do Heroismo, Terceira Island, Azores
Period18/09/1721/09/17

Bibliographical note

Copyright SEFI 2017 - All Rights Reserved

Keywords

  • Aspirations
  • Group interviews
  • Primary school
  • Qualitative

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  • Cite this

    Broadbent, R. (2017). What can a child's experiences tell us about engineering education activities? In Proceedings of the 45th SEFI Annual Conference 2017 - Education Excellence for Sustainability, SEFI 2017 (pp. 1292-1299). Société Eropéenne pour la Formation des Ingénieurs.