|Ph.D Student||Shauli Sofia|
|Subject||Engagement with Science Among Parents of Hearing Impaired|
Children: Characteristics and Affordances
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisor||Professor Ayelet Baram-Tsabari|
|Full Thesis text - in Hebrew|
Hearing-impaired children's chances of integrating into hearing society largely depends on their parents, who need to learn and understand vast amounts of science knowledge in the field of hearing. This PhD project aims to bridge the disciplines of science education and science communication to examine the practical relevance of science knowledge in one particular daily life context using methodologies and literature from both fields. It explores the connections between general science knowledge, based on the NSF battery of questions, and science knowledge in the field of hearing (contextual knowledge) of parents of hearing-impaired children. It also examines the relationship between science knowledge and parental advocacy knowledge and attitudes.
The research questions guiding this project are:
1. Based on the input of experts and parents, what are the characteristics of science knowledge needed by parents of hearing-impaired children? What is the importance of this knowledge?
2. What are the quantitative and qualitative interactions between socio-demographic characteristics, general science knowledge, contextual science knowledge in the field of hearing and parents' advocacy knowledge and attitudes in different cultures?
3. In what ways does general science knowledge support the learning of contextual science knowledge and in what ways does the latter support knowledge and attitudes towards advocacy in different cultures?
A mixed methods approach was chosen for this study. Ten interviews were conducted with hearing rehabilitation experts, 30 interviews were conducted and 125 questionnaires were collected from Hebrew speaking parents to hearing impaired children living in Israel. In addition, 79 questionnaires were filled out by Arabic speaking parents from Israel, and another 104 by English speaking parents.
Results indicate that general science knowledge helps parents acquire contextual science knowledge and that contextual science knowledge might be a factor in rehabilitation. Contextual science knowledge emerged as the only predictor of parental advocacy attitudes and knowledge, although it only explained 5.5% of the variance. Although general science knowledge was the best predictor of contextual science knowledge (14% of the explained variance), it was not a direct predictor of parental advocacy attitudes and knowledge. The statistical analysis of the Arabic and English versions of the questionnaire did not yield clear results. The distribution of parental information resources suggests that parental advocacy is culture-dependent.
On a broader level, this study examined the role played by science literacy in lay people's daily lives. The results of this study lend some support to the claim that people are supported by science knowledge and understanding in everyday life situations, but that science knowledge seldom leads people to a full solution of these problems. This study also sheds light on the ideological and methodological question of the definition and measurement of science literacy in everyday life. It provides some evidence that general science knowledge, as measured by the commonly used NSF battery, can result in better contextual understanding of science.