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Volume 28 n1 - White Lab Coats and Elementary Students’ Science Self-Concept and Science Self-Efficacy

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Abstract Youth often fail to see themselves in the role of a scientist or engineer and they may lack the confi dence to believe they can be successful in STEM courses and careers. This study investigated students wearing lab coats as one strategy to build science academic self-concept and self-effi cacy in science. Teachers in four elementary schools had their students wear lab coats for ten science lessons. Students (n= 37) were interviewed pre and post to the lab coat experience to document students’ perceived science self-effi cacy, science self-concept, and perceptions of wearing the lab coat on their views of themselves as scientists. The students reported that when wearing a lab coat, they felt like scientists and felt smart and competent in learning science. Results suggest that wearing a lab coat may be an accessible strategy that can raise science self-effi cacy, self-concept, and promote an enhanced sense of relatedness to science and scientists.

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