Deaf students and scientists side-by-side: Self-efficacy and modeling in real-world earth science research

Date of Completion

January 2006


Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special|Education, Sciences




Deaf and hard of hearing students from five high schools were involved in an earth science project on geological faults. Variables of interest were self-efficacy in science and self-efficacy in career decision-making. The influence and characteristics of role models for deaf and hard of hearing students were also examined. Social cognitive career theory (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) was used as the theoretical base in this mixed method study. The fault curriculum unit was a collaborative project between Geosciences faculty at the University of Massachusetts and SOAR-High, an earth science program coordinated by the Clerc Center at Gallaudet University. Students participated in three interconnected learning components: (a) classroom experiments using a specially designed sandbox unit to model changes that take place in the earth's crust; (b) videoconferences with geoscientists; and (c) a five-day field trip where students, teachers, and scientists worked side-by-side in the field studying faults in Utah. Quantitative and qualitative data focused on science self-efficacy, career decision-making self-efficacy, and the influence of role models. Results suggested that active, student-centered learning activities had a positive impact on science self-efficacy and career decision making self-efficacy. ^