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Primary teachers' changing attitudes and cognition during a two-year science in-service programme and their effect on pupils

By Tina Jarvis and Anthony Pell

Abstract

Changes in 70 teachers’ confidence, attitudes and science understanding were tested before and after a major in‐service programme. Attitudes were assessed using a 49‐item Likert‐scale test that probed attitudes to practical science teaching and in‐service training. Multi‐choice and open‐ended questions measured understanding of electricity; melting, dissolving and evaporation; forces; and investigations. Data on pupils’ attitudes and cognition were also collected. After in‐service, teachers’ confidence about science teaching had improved significantly. The majority, but not all, had developed satisfactory levels of understanding and more positive attitudes. Four broad types of response were identified: high attainers who improved attitudes and confidence; teachers with limited science knowledge who found the course difficult but made improvements; unaffected professionals who were already working well and for whom the course had little effect; and disaffected teachers who showed low levels of confidence and competence throughout. Pupil cognition and attitudinal differences related to these types were also found

Year: 2004
DOI identifier: 10.1080/0950069042000243763
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/1038
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