INFORMING LEADERSHIP PRACTICES: EXPLORING RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STUDENT ENGAGEMENT IN SCIENCE AND A FIELD EXPERIENCE AT THE HOUSTON ZOO
Sanford, Chance 1981-
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The science most adults in the United States learned was derived from informal science broadcast programming outside the classroom (Ogden et al., 2011; National Research Council, 2009; Falk et al., 2010). Evaluations over the last decade of organized informal science programs consistently show that such programs can raise student interest, confidence, and classroom achievement (Thomasian, 2012). This study focused on teachers’ perceptions of their students’ engagement in science in their classroom after attending a field experience at the Houston Zoo. Teachers were administered an online survey three weeks after the field experience. The study revealed that teachers noted a slight increase in positive learning behaviors, and three themes related to increased engagement in the classroom: 1) Excitement, 2) Connectedness, and 3) Science as a Career Option. Implications of this study impact both informal and formal educational leaders and increases awareness regarding the benefits of collaboration between formal and informal environments.