Research in Science Education

, Volume 49, Issue 6, pp 1835–1859 | Cite as

Student Motivation in Science Subjects in Tanzania, Including Students’ Voices

  • Selina Thomas MkimbiliEmail author
  • Marianne Ødegaard


Fostering and maintaining students’ interest in science is an important aspect of improving science learning. The focus of this paper is to listen to and reflect on students’ voices regarding the sources of motivation for science subjects among students in community secondary schools with contextual challenges in Tanzania. We conducted a group-interview study of 46 Form 3 and Form 4 Tanzanian secondary school students. The study findings reveal that the major contextual challenges to student motivation for science in the studied schools are limited resources and students’ insufficient competence in the language of instruction. Our results also reveal ways to enhance student motivation for science in schools with contextual challenges; these techniques include the use of questioning techniques and discourse, students’ investigations and practical work using locally available materials, study tours, more integration of classroom science into students’ daily lives and the use of real-life examples in science teaching. Also we noted that students’ contemporary life, culture and familiar language can be utilised as a useful resource in facilitating meaningful learning in science in the school. Students suggested that, to make science interesting to a majority of students in a Tanzanian context, science education needs to be inclusive of students’ experiences, culture and contemporary daily lives. Also, science teaching and learning in the classroom need to involve learners’ voices.


Motivation Science subjects Tanzania Students’ voices 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Teacher Education and School ResearchUniversity of OsloOsloNorway
  2. 2.Mkwawa University College of Education in TanzaniaIringaTanzania

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