Implicit theories of intelligence in STEM education: perspectives through the lens of technology education students.
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The educational significance of eliciting students’ implicit theories of intelligence is well established with the majority of this work focussing on theories regarding entity and incremental beliefs. However, a second paradigm exists in the prototypical nature of intelligence for which to view implicit theories. This study purports to instigate an investigation into students’ beliefs concerning intellectual behaviours through the lens of prototypical definitions within STEM education. To achieve this, the methodology designed by Sternberg et al. (J Pers Soc Psychol 41(1):37–55, 1981) was adopted with surveys being administered to students of technology education requiring participants to describe characteristics of intelligent behaviour. A factor analytic approach including exploratory factor analysis, confirmatory factor analysis and structural equation modelling was taken in analysing the data to determine the underlying constructs which the participants viewed as critical in their definition of intelligence. The findings of this study illustrate that students of technology education perceive intelligence to be multifaceted, comprising of three factors including social, general and technological competences. Implications for educational practice are discussed relative to these findings. While initially this study focuses on the domain of technology education, a mandate for further work in other disciplines is discussed.
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