CORRELATION OF CHEMISTRY TEACHER ATTITUDE ON STUDENTS PERFORMANCE IN PUBLIC AND PRIVATE SECONDARY SCHOOL
Background to the Study
In science education, attitude toward science is an important factor affecting students’ science achievement as well as students’ alternative conceptions or misconceptions. Attitude is a hypothetical construct that indicates an individual like and dislike towards an item. It may be positive, negative or neutral. Attitude is an approach, temperament, sensation, situation, etc. with regard to a person or thing: inclination or course, especially of the mind. Attitude is a way of looking at things (Muellerleile, 2005).
An attitude may be defined as a predisposition to respond in a favorable or unfavorable manner with respect to a given attitude object (Oskamp and Schultz 2005). Every science teacher considered the development of positive attitude towards science subjectsas his center responsibility (Cheung, 2009).
Unluckily, what is going on in our science classrooms is not particular to the students across all ages, research has revealed, (Stark and gray 1999: Cheung 2009). According to Yara (2009), teacher, attitude and his method of teaching can greatly influenced the students’ attitude. Bennett et al. (2001) also explored that the undergraduate students who had developed a lower constructive attitude towards chemistry almost always got low grade in examination. A number of factors have been identified as related to students attitude towards chemistry,such factors include teaching methods, teacher attitude, influence of parents, gender, age, cognitive style of pupils, career interest, and social implication of chemistry and achievement, Adesoji (2008)
Olatoye (2001) found that students attitude towards chemistry have significant direct effect on students’ achievement in the subject, reported by Abulude, (2009). Understanding of students’ attitude is important in supporting their achievement and interest towards a particular discipline. Students attitude towards science have been extensively studied, Dhindsa & Cheung (2003), Osborne et al. (2003), but research was initially focused greatly on science in general (Dawson, 2000) and less attention was addressed to particular discipline like biology, Physics and chemistry (Salta and Tzougraki, 2004)
This can partly camouflage students’ attitude towards science because science is not viewed as homogenous subject, (Spall et al., 2004). In science education, attitude toward science is an important factor affecting students’ science achievement as well as students’ alternative conceptions or misconceptions. An important reason for examining attitudinal constructs in science education is to be able to understand the ways in which they affect student learning in the cognitive field. Students’ interest is likely to be positively correlated with their achievement in science understanding (Simpsonet al., 1994).
The development of scientific literacy among students requires their positive attitudes toward science (Linn, 1992). There are some research findings showing evidence for the relationship between students’ attitudes towards school science and their achievement in science (e.g., Neathery, 1997; Simpson & Oliver, 1990; Osborne & Collins, 2000).
These studies show that the students who have more positive attitudes towards science would be more successful in science classrooms. The relationship between attitude and achievement is influenced by contextual factors, including classroom organization, teacher authority, the nature of classroom academic tasks, and evaluation structure. These contextual factors may serve to strengthen the relations between attitudinal constructs and science learning as well as to weaken them (Pintrich, Marx, & Boyle, 1993).
According to Koballa and Glynn (2007), students’ science learning experiences affect their attitudes positively, increase their motivation for science learning, and as a result, lead to higher achievement in science. Students also have different attitudes toward different domains of science: physics, chemistry, and biology (Osborne & Collins, 2001).
The quality of science teaching is an important factor affecting students’ attitudes toward school science (Ebenezer & Zoller, 1993; Osborne, Simon, & Collins, 2003). Using laboratories in science or chemistry lessons positively affects students’ attitudes toward that lesson (Adesoji & Raimi, 2004).
In the literature, there have been many research studies on the effect of different instructional strategies on students’ attitudes (Gibson & Chase, 2002; Wong et al., 1997). A common hypothesis with respect to teacher’s attitude and student achievement is that students taught using the right approach or attitude achieve at a higher level because their teachers have displayed the right attitude and acquired classroom management skills to deal with different types of classroom problems (Slavin, 1987, Evan, 1992, Gibbons et al., 1997).
Furthermore, more experienced teachers are considered to be more able to concentrate on the most appropriate way to teach particular topics to students who differ in their abilities, prior knowledge and background (Rauden bush and Williams, 1991).
Stringfield and Teddlie 1991, Ejiogu, 1999 was of the view that in order to improve on any aspect of education, it is therefore imperative to involve a well articulated teacher education programme that will prepare the teacher for the leadership role they are expected to play.
The importance of teacher in the meaningful education at all level is reflected in the national policy on education (2004) as it declares that no educational system may rise above the quality of its teachers.
This declaration in the policy document underscores the need for teacher effectiveness in our schools. conceptualizes teacher’s effectiveness as the managerial skills essential for enhanced classroom control and discipline. It is the teacher’s competence, ability, resourcefulness and ingenuity to efficiently utilize the appropriate language, methodology and available instructional materials to bring out the best from learners in terms of academic achievement. It has been observed that teachers teach science in a way that merely requires the students to listen, read and regurgitate. This depicts negative attitude to teaching. Several research findings have confirmed the hypothesis that teacher’s attitude either towards science or towards science teaching affect their students achievement in and attitude towards science.
Okpala (1985) found that, the effect of teacher’s attitude towards assessment practices on student’s achievement and their attitude towards physics was positive. In the same vein, Onocha (1985) reported in one of his findings that teacher’s attitude towards science is a significant predictor of learner’s achievement as well as their attitude. Also Igwe (1985) showed that, the effect of teachers’ attitude to chemistry was stronger on the student’s chemistry achievement that on their attitudes.
To Abimbade (1999), teachers are said to be effective when their teaching can lead to students learning. Nothing has been taught until it has been learnt and this happens when the teacher succeeds in causing a change in behaviour in the learner. It is therefore important that the teacher must see teaching as an attempt on his own part to transfer what he has learnt to his students using the right approach attitude.
Teachers are invariably role models whose behaviours are easily mimicked by students. What teachers feel about their learning or studies could have significant effect on the student. It is important to note that the various dispositions that our teachers display at work betrayed their devotion.
This has greatly affected the attitude and in particular, the learning of chemistry and hence their poor performance in the subject. Many have no mastery of the curriculum content and the organization is highly detestable. Teachers’ effective reactions to work are not as good as they should be in many of our schools yet, teachers are looked upon as instrument of social engineering, progress and change. This declining outlook calls for immediate diagnosis and treatment.
The present study investigates teacher’s attitude and its effect on student’s achievement in chemistry with a view to confirming or annulling the above several claims.