TEACHER’S ATTITUDES AND THEIR METHODOLOGICAL IMPACT ON LEARNER’S MOTIVATION
One of the most essential factors of subject achievement is motivation, which may be well indicated by subject-attitude surveys (Józsa,2007). The dominant effect of teachers’ activities is evident, however, the impact of the STO-model is less known (Magnusson et.al.,1999), which defines teacher’s attitudes as behaviour patterns, whereas it is also emphasized that beliefs, values, interests are the cognitive basis for attitudes (Anderson&Smith,1987; Friedrichsen et.al.,2011; Kind,2016.
When we are looking for explanations for the decline in attitudes toward science, we must also consider the fact that there is also strong evidence of a decline in the interest of young people in pursuing scientific careers (Department for Education 1994; Smithers and Robinson 1988). Concerns about attitudes to science are not new. In the past decade, evidence would suggest that the problem has become even more acute and the topic has been the subject of considerable exploration, both at an empirical and theoretical level (Osborne et.al.,2003).
Several studies have underlined a range of components in their measures of attitudes to science, including the perception of the science teacher, anxiety toward science, motivation towards science, attitudes of peers and friends towards science, the nature of the classroom environment and the achievement in science (Breakwell & Beardsell 1992; Crawley and Black 1992; Haladyna, Olsen, and Shaughnessy 1982; Keys 1987; Koballa Jr. 1995; Oliver and Simpson 1988; Piburn 1993; Woolnough 1994).
In our paper based off-line questionnaires, we wanted to examine what impact the different methods and tools as well as the organisation of classroom work used by teachers have on learner’s attitudes. The population encompassed 8th graders of 12 primary schools (600 capita), and 9th and 11th graders of 18 secondary schools (2915 capita).
We may conclude that in the preference rank (Likert-scale) maths, chemistry and physics are ranked the lowest, while in elementary schools the preference of these subjects is much higher (0,3), biology with its 3,85 or science with its 3,82 can be considered as more preferred subjects.
Considering methods used in classroom work, learner’s experiments, group work, online activities can be found at the lower end of the rank, the least applied methods are group work both in elementary school (<2,0) and in secondary schools (1,8<).
Our data do not verify our assumption that students would be dissatisfied with their teachers’ explanations or competence to give lectures.
From the teacher’s behavioural variables three factors may be highlighted: professionalism, the positive personality and fairness-predictability.
According to our data professional expertise does not really correlate with subject attitudes (r: 0,17-0,34, depending on the subject), clear explanations and interesting subject content have a stronger impact (r: 0,518-0,61).
Teachers’ positive personality seems to be a medium strong factor (r: 0,40-0,48), especially among elementary school students.
Our data show that in case of science subjects, teacher’s qualities have a medium effect on subject attitudes, while the different methods have only a minor impact.
Based on this, we can conclude that the improvement of teaching science is highly conditioned by teacher’s qualities, subject content and requirements.