Elementary Pre-service Teachers' Motivation Towards Science Learning at an Australian University

By Barbara M. Odgers.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Three hundred and twenty nine Australian pre-service teachers’ motivation to learn science was investigated by use of a 32-item questionnaire consisting of six scales - Self Efficacy, Active Learning Strategies, Science Learning Value, Performance Goal, Achievement Goal and Learning Environment Stimulation. The questionnaire was based on an instrument designed and trialled with 1407 junior high school students in Taiwan (Tuan, Chin & Shieh, 2005).
Analyses revealed that while each of the six scales played a role in the motivation of different groups of pre-service teachers, all scales except the Performance Goal scale had a score of >3.5 of a five point scale, that is, pre-service teachers agreed with the items as stated in each scale. Analyses also revealed that male pre-service teachers had a small but higher mean score for self efficacy towards leaning science than female pre-service teachers. When age groups were investigated, the older aged pre-service teachers (26-40 years) had a higher mean score for the active learning strategies than did the younger age group (<26years). The situation was reversed for performance goals. When considering high school science subjects, it was revealed that pre-service teachers who had studied two science subjects before enrolling in a Bachelor of Education had a higher mean score for self efficacy for learning science than those who had completed one or who had not completed any high school science subjects. Also pre-service teachers who had completed one science subject within the Bachelor of Education had a higher mean score for science learning value that did pre-service teachers who not yet studied a Bachelor of Education science subject.
Thus the six motivational scales used to identify ways pre-service teachers learn science highlights the diversity of this population of pre-service teachers and the diversity of approaches needed to motivate pre-service teachers to learn science. These findings should be taken into account when designing science subjects for pre-service teachers.

Keywords: Pre-service Teachers, Motivation, Science Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp.201-216. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 623.578KB).

Dr. Barbara M. Odgers

Lecturer in Science Education, School of Education , Brisbane Campus, Australian Catholic University, Brisbane, Australia

Lecturer in the School of Education at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane Campus, Australia. Her major teaching areas are science education for pre-service primary and secondary teachers and environmental studies. Her research interests are: beliefs about the nature of science, science education, self efficacy and disturbance ecology.

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