Facilitators and distractors of effective learning: perceptions of middle school students, teachers, and parents /

Kasapoğlu, Koray
This study aims to explore teachers’, students’, and their parents’ conceptions of effective learning and to examine factors that facilitate or distract effective learning in social studies and science courses at the sixth and seventh grades. The study, through a qualitative, phenomenological research design, was conducted in eight middle schools in Afyonkarahisar, Turkey. The participants were 16 teachers, 48 students, and 24 parents. Data were mainly collected through individual interviews with teachers and parents, and focus group interviews with students. For confirmation, the interview data were supplemented by two-week non-participant observations of social studies and science courses in half of the selected middle schools, and by analyses of documents, such as worksheets, exams, and social studies and science curricula. The inductive category development approach was used to analyze the whole data. The findings were categorized under conceptions of effective learning, factors that facilitate effective learning, and factors that distract effective learning. It should also be noted that aims of effective learning and of facilitating effective learning emerged from the data. Mostly, teachers define effective learning as doing well on a test and being a good person while mostly students and their parents state that effective learning aims at getting a good job, doing well on a test, and being a good person. The findings also shed light on the factors that facilitate or distract effective learning. Person-related (i.e., student-related, teacher-related and parent-related), interpersonal, curricular, extracurricular and contextual factors not only facilitate, but also distract effective learning.