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Suits, Jerry

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“Flow” is a mental state in which a person experiences an optimal performance of an activity, when they are completely immersed in it. The flow state is characterized by a feeling of confidence, and the activity seems to be effortless. A person enters a state of flow when their skills performing a task (activity) matches its level of difficulty. They perceive that the task is neither too easy nor too difficult. Flow state experiences have been connected to increased levels of performance in domains such as athletics and music, as well as in academic domains such as learning foreign language. However, prior to my investigations, there has been little research examining flow state experiences within the context of chemistry. Through my work, utilizing a mixed methods research design, I have been able to establish a connection between students’ flow state experiences and their performance in second semester general chemistry. The pilot study included data from 157 participants, and the dissertation study included data from 150 participants. Additionally, I examined how students’ approaches to learning are related to both their flow state experiences and their performance. Qualitative data from student interviews allowed us to gain deeper insight into the quantitative findings. Based on these findings, I can offer possible instructional strategies that can be implemented to facilitate students to enter this optimal state of flow.


132 pages

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