The study on student willingness to take risks in the name of early scientific exploration has been done by Ronald A. Beghetto, University of Oregon professor of education studies.It looked at intellectual risk-taking of 585 students in the third- through sixth-grades in seven Oregon elementary schools. Fifty-one percent were girls.
Ethnically, 76 per cent (442) were white, 9 per cent (55) were Native American, 7 per cent (40) were Hispanic, 2 per cent (14) were Asian/Pacific Islander and 0.5 per cent (3) were black. The remaining 5 per cent (31) were in the "other" category.
Beghetto found that, in general, as students get older they become less likely to take intellectual risks when learning science.Importantly, however, students who were interested in science had confidence in their own ideas, and felt that their teachers supported them by listening to their ideas and providing encouraging feedback.
These children were significantly more willing to take intellectual risks when learning science, said an Oregon release.In fact, he said, the findings indicate that science interest, confidence in their own ideas and perceived teacher support were more important than even science ability in predicting students' reports of intellectual risk taking.
These findings were published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching.