The challenges of implementing a spatial ability intervention at secondary level
Keywords:cognitive training, secondary level, intervention, student gains, teacher views
Spatial skills development has been widely examined throughout the literature, with evidence suggesting many cognitive abilities are malleable and can be improved through targeted solutions. Some previous examples of intervention studies have been shown to reduce the gap between genders, and those of a lower socio-economic status where the training increased spatial ability, as well as in discipline-specific educational performance. These findings align with many national agendas for STEM diversity, which strive to increase participation and performance of such under-represented groups in STEM.
With a lot of research being conducted around spatial skill development within a university level setting, or outside of a formal educational context completely, the applicability of such training interventions in a secondary level school context is unclear. With secondary level education aiming to develop many cognitive abilities, including spatial ability as outlined in curriculum documents, the implementation of such an intervention could improve student outcomes and add value to the educational experience of the students. With the time-sensitive nature of secondary level schooling, there are many concerns around the amount of time and effort that needs to be invested to successfully implement such an intervention. Through the piloting of a spatial training intervention, this paper focusses on the development of spatial skills within an upper secondary level setting in Ireland with 358 students aged 14-16 enrolled in the Transition Year programme and their 10 teachers.
This paper examines the challenges of implementation of a specific spatial skills intervention, through a variety of lenses, including pedagogy based and performance based, and offers considerations for future research in the area. By looking from both teacher and student perspectives, we explore the issues encountered and offer suggestions to researchers conducting similar studies at secondary level.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Liam Maquet, Urša Benedičič, Rónán Dunbar, Jeffrey Buckley, Gavin Duffy, Sheryl Sorby
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