Virtual On line
June 22, 2020
June 22, 2020
June 26, 2021
Minorities in Engineering
Fear of failure has been studied for many years. Fear in children has been described as an “adaptive reaction to a real or imagined threat” (Gullone, 1996, p. 144). Fear increases during the middle school years (Gullone & King, 1993), with girls reporting more fears than boys (Burnham & Gullone, 1997). In 2009, Burnham and Lomax reported little extant literature on fear across African American, Hispanic and White youth. Their study of 1030 children indicated differences in fear intensity and prevalence by race/culture, school level, and gender. A study by Nelson, Newman, McDaniel, and Buboltz (2013) on fear of failure amongst engineering students, reported a similar gender difference. Additionally, research suggests a strong connection between fear of failure and self-efficacy (Caraway, Tucker, Reinke, & Hall, 2003; Wennberg, Autio, & Pathak, 2013). Self-efficacy has long been a predictor of engagement (Connell, 1990; Connell, & Wellborn, 1991)and achievement motivation (Bandura, 1982; 1991).
We are conducting an after-school program, studying an integrated STEM +Computational Thinking curriculum, in an urban, low-income neighborhood. Our program’s broader intention is to influence how minority girls think about STEM and to unveil careers in STEM, especially engineering, they might not have otherwise considered. The framework of our mixed-methods study is socio-cultural and critical race theory with a feminist perspective. In its first year, we saw what we believe to be a fear response from the girls, grades 4-5, during staged interviews and teachers influencing students to give the “right answers.” Especially because our second-year curriculum has a strong engineering design process focus, it is important for the girls to provide their own answers, to recognize the value of failure in the design process, and to learn to embrace it. Consequently, we changed our instructional methodology and our data collection methods to be in-class, collaborative, and spontaneous. Additional interviews, real-time recording of individual table discourse, and numerous exit slips were analyzed. Preliminary findings of more real-time whole class discussions, presentations, exit slips and sharing with STEM Women of Color indicated heir comfort level with discussions their work and understanding of the benefit of failure in the engineering design process improved. Our purpose is to mitigate the influence of the fear of failure (and boost self-efficacy) for underrepresented students, especially minority girls, and their teachers.
Keywords: computational thinking, design process, failure, minority girls, K-12
Burns, H. D., & McKenney, M., & Johnson, M., & Locke, S., & Vogel, A., & Wilson, C., & Bracey, G. (2020, June), Program for Minority Girls (Research to Practice-Diversity) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35094
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