THE IMPACT OF THE NEAR-PEER MENTORING APPROACH TO NURTURE SCIENTIFIC ENQUIRY SKILLS: A CASE STUDY IN KUALA SELANGOR'S SCHOOL
Keywords:Mentor, STEM module, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Problem solving, Decision making
Declining interest in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) globally has also affected the students in Malaysia. Only 42% of middle school students in Malaysia chose to do science, including technical and vocational programs at high school as the course always been associated with difficult subjects, textbook-based fields and lack of job opportunities. Hence, it is important to tackle this issue promptly. A STEM Mentor-Mentee program was conducted to explore secondary school students’ interest towards STEM for three months at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Rantau Panjang and Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Tiram Jaya in the district of Kuala Selangor, Selangor, Malaysia. The main aim of the program was to boost the scientific inquiry skill using a near-peer mentoring approach. Participants consisted of 60 mentees from both schools and 12 mentors. Four STEM skills namely critical thinking skills, creativity, problem solving and decision-making were assessed through five modules. These skills are vital to developing scientific inquiry skill among participants. The mean value for all skills post study has increased and shows significant differences (p-value 0.000) after the mentees participated in the module session under mentors’ observation. The program was also able to polish mentoring skills among mentors including creativity, problem solving, motivational and leadership skills with the school teachers favouring the mentoring approach. The result suggested that the relationships formed between mentor and mentee could have a positive effect on STEM education.
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