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Title: The Incidence, Characteristics and Processes of Intense Individual Interest and Expertise in the Conceptual Domain among Grammar School Students
Authors: Pelgrim - Mensink, Jessica
Keywords: Incidence
Grammar School
Conceptual domain
Issue Date: 8-Dec-2014
Publisher: Open Universiteit
Abstract: Imagine a birthday party with lots of children. Most of these children are interested in loom straps and Skylanders, the hypes of 2014, but there is one little boy who is almost obsessed with and truly knows everything about the universe. Imagine the same group of kids having a party ten years later. Loom straps and Skylanders the adolescents consider things from times gone by, but that one boy, will he still be interested in the universe? In addition to subjects that almost every child is interested in (situational interests), there are also interests more idiosyncratic and permanent (individual interests). Individual interests in the conceptual domain often lead to a so-called Island of Expertise, i.e. a topic in which children happen to become interested in and in which they develop relatively deep and rich knowledge. There has already been much research into the existence of such interests and expertise in young children, but little is known about such interests and expertise in adolescents. The aim of this study is to contribute to the understanding of interest and expertise among this age group. The main questions of the study are 1) what is the incidence of this kind of interest and expertise in grammar school, 2) what are the characteristics of interest and expertise in this age group and 3) what are the processes of development of interest and expertise and what are the promoting and hindering factors. A mixed methods design is used to answer these questions. The data are collected through a newly developed electronic questionnaire filled out by 672 students of a grammar school in the Netherlands, which was analyzed quantitatively, and by a newly developped mailed questionnaire filled out by 29 students of the same school, who – according to the quantitative analysis – show an intense individual interest in the conceptual domain and related expertise. These data are analyzed qualitatively. Results of the study show that less than 16% of the students has an intense individual interest in the conceptual domain. The smarter students seem to be more susceptible to such interest. The developments of Interest and Expertise appear to go hand in hand. Interest leads to actions that lead to expertise. That growing expertise in turn leads to interest. Triggering of interest usually happens because of an experience or person. The interest usually ceases to exist when school takes up the time which is needed to engage in the interest.
Description: Pelgrim_Mensink, J.M. (2014). The Incidence, Characteristics and Processes of Intense Individual Interest and Expertise in the Conceptual Domain among Grammar School Students. December, 8, 2014, Heerlen, Nederland: Open Universiteit
Appears in Collections:MSc Learning Sciences

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