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PROSPECTIVE PHYSICS TEACHERS BELIEVE AND ATTITUDE TOWARDS TEACHING AND LEARNING OF PHYSICS IN COLLEGES
The topic of this research work is on prospective physics teachers believe and attitude towards teaching and learning of physics in colleges. It is highly important for the youth to be good and knowledgeable in science and technology through adequate knowledge of physics. This could be achieved if the needed knowledge is imparted by prospective motivated physics teachers who will in turn inspire the learners.. Descriptive research approach was used with simple sampling method. The population of the study consisted of 100 randomly selected senior college physics teachers and students. Questionnaires were administered to collect data and simple percentage was used in analyzing it. It is evident that teachers had negative of believes and attitudes physic teachers towards teaching Physics in colleges. Therefore, stakeholders in education should see to motivating the physics teachers to teach the subject effectively and efficiently to arouse technological consciousness in the youth who will be our future generation.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Physics is an important subject for economic, scientific and technological evelopment (American Physics Society, 2008; Zhaoyao, 2002). Most teachers fail to realize that they are very vital in educational effectiveness at the classroom instructional level. How they teach, behave and interact with students in the classroom or during teaching are more vital than what they teach. It is very clear that teacher’s way of thinking and attitude determines his/her behaviour and decision inside and outside the classroom. The Physics teachers have various roles to play in the process of teaching/ learning most especially in teaching of Physics. They need to be competent in their own area of specialization and also be able to apply different methods of teaching and strategy and understand the learning processes of students.
Ololube (2009) stated that “Teacher expertise and teacher knowledge of subject matter differ from ordinary scholarly knowledge and pedagogy. The Physics teachers have to be able to fuse the subject matter knowledge and pedagogical knowledge into pedagogical content knowledge in their everyday action in the classroom”
According to him pedagogical content knowledge includes of what motivates students, attitude of students towards different subjects, the cognitive development and reasoning abilities of student’s etc. He also stated that, for a successful teaching the teacher must have the ideas about man and conception of knowledge and learning and that teachers’ ideas of man create the basis for understanding different kinds of learners.
Empirical studies from the field of hysics Education Research (PER) have outlined essential suggestions about physics curriculum which are generally accepted and believed to widen the knowledge and increase the horizon of understanding of physics by learners. Among the essential suggestions are: the method of teaching physics should be guided discovery instead of the traditional lecture method used in teaching the subject.
This was recommended due to the fact that, learning efficiency and effectiveness take place during explanation, experimentation and discussion; (2) there should be interaction between the physics teacher and the students. In this case, it is believed that if genuine and helpful interaction exists between the teacher and students, the students will be
able to inform teachers what they find difficult in physics thereby reducing the difficulties they (students) encounter (Adeyemo, 2010, p. 101). These features are essential because it is believed that if they are dully and critically followed and applied in any given situation and at any given time, teachers will be able to make physics easy to comprehend by learners (Adeyemo, 2010).
Teaching methods are the most important techniques employed by teachers to realize the objectives of a lesson (Borich, 2007; Fishburne & Hickson, 2001). Thus, teachers of all disciplines including physics use various teaching methods for achieving lesson objectives. For physics students to achieve their full potential in schools, it would seem to be essential that teachers engage in effective teaching practices (Borich, 2007; Fishburne & Hickson, 2001). Classroom based investigation has been able to determine effective research-based teaching practices that are related to positive learning outcomes.
In a review of research studies that showed an impact on student achievement and learning, the authors summarized effective teaching methods and outlined five teaching behaviours that were supported by research and to which teachers should pay attention. These behaviours are: lesson clarity; instructional variety; teacher task orientation; engagement in the learning process; and student success rate (Borich, 1996; Hickson & Fishburne, 2001).
The desire to pursue physics at higher levels (beyond secondary education) is influenced by the success rate and foundation a student receives in physics at the college. Murphy and Whitelegg (2006) reported that in the United Kingdom prior achievement and perception of the difficulty of physics are determinants of students’ decisions about whether to continue to study physics at higher levels of education. A study by Buabeng and Ntow (2010) revealed a wide range of reasons which accounted for students’ negative response to physics in Ghana. Prominent among these factors were teacher factor, poor performance, perceived difficulty nature of physics and unknown career
opportunities in the subject. Most of the students reported that there is a reduced interest in the subject at the Senior College (SHS) level because the subject was poorly presented to them. Interestingly, physics teachers who participated in the study admitted that poor tuition is one of the many reasons accounting for the low interest level among students (Buabeng & Ntow, 2010).
All these objectives are achieved by the teacher through giving innovative and appropriate instructions to the physics students. The physics teacher is therefore required to design teaching sequences with appropriate teaching pedagogies that has the potential to develop students’ interest in the subject and their abilities to properly respond to situations the may encounter in their world of life that their knowledge in physics may be of benefit.
An attitude is a mindset that affects how a person thinks and acts. Attitude can influence a person’s performance positively or negatively. For instance, negative attitude towards one’s job will result in negative performance. Similarly, attitude could also affect how well a teacher plans and prepares for his/her lessons. The attitude of a teacher, consciously or unconsciously, greatly affects students’ academic performance. It has been established that teachers’ attitudes highly influence students’ interest in learning. Moreover, personality traits of the Physics teachers are more powerful and influential than the course content or instructional strategies used in the classroom. A good classroom strategy requires full interest and support from teachers and learners. If a teacher appears not interested or careful about a particular subject or student, he/she will be unable to foster a supportive learning
environment. In addition to that, teachers with negative attitudes may not be as approachable to students as teachers who are positively motivated. So, students find it difficult asking such a teacher questions on the grey areas of the subject he/she teaches.
This implies that teachers’ attitude towards their students and teaching in general is very important for students’ success. In the same vein, teachers need to be highly interested in the subjects and topics they teach. For instance , a Christian teacher who teaches Islamic Studies can never be interested in the subject because the subject is only being taught to earn his/her livelihood. This will in turn take a toll on the students that are to be taught.
Physics, as one of the core subjects in senior colleges, is facing attitudinal challenge in the society which take toll on teaching and learning effectiveness of the subject. The challenge is not only from the physics teachers and the students, but also from the parents of the students concerned. To proffer solutions to this problem, this study was conducted to investigate teachers’ attitudes towards teaching Physics in colleges.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
In order to realize the vision of advancement in science and technology, students must be properly thought on physics. Good performance in Physics is therefore a matter of great concern nationally. For a long time, physics has been identified as a difficult subject and hence, some teachers who teach physics lack knowledge of the subject as well the teaching skills, competences and qualifications. Also, students hold negative stereotype images of scientists, science and technology in society are easily discouraged from pursuing scientific disciplines and usually performed poorly in science subjects (Changeiywo, 2000). This situation does not favour Nigeria move towards developing a scientific and technological nation. The concern is that the performance in Physics is going down and the subject is less popular among students in Nigeria college students as compared to other science subjects.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study were as follows:
1. To find out the relationship between physics teacher characteristics and the effective
teaching of physics.
2. To investigate the attitudes of students towards learning of physics in Colleges in Nigeria.
3. To identify the attitudes of physics teachers towards teaching physics in colleges.
4. To find out strategies used by physics teachers for effective teaching of physics in colleges.
5. To identify the influence of teachers’ attitudes on students’ learning of physics.
6. To identify the factors affecting teachers’ attitude towards teaching and learning physics
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. Does physics teacher characteristics relate with teaching and learning of physics?
2. What kind of attitudes habited by the students towards learning of physics in Colleges in Nigeria?
3. Do physics teachers adopt a particular strategy for effective teaching and learning of physics in colleges?
4. Do teachers’ attitudes influence students’ learning of physics?
5. What are the factors affecting teachers’ attitude towards teaching and learning physics?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: Physics teachers characteristics do not relate with teaching and learning of physics.
H1: Physics teachers characteristics relate with teaching and learning of physics.
H0: Students habit negative attitude towards learning of physics in Colleges in Nigeria.
H1: Students habit positive attitude towards learning of physics in Colleges in Nigeria.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The research finding will sensitize Physics teachers, who are the implementers of the Physics curriculum, on the strategies and techniques suggested to improve the performance in Physics. They will also help the students to identify difficult areas and to adopt the strategies suggested in handling the difficult areas. For curriculum developers, the findings will assist them to come up with more appropriate teaching methodologies so as to improve the students’ performance in Physics. The authors of Physics text books will also be sensitized through the research findings to prepare the learning materials that enhance effective learning in Physics. The Physics teacher trainers, like in colleges and INSETs can be assisted by the findings to equip the Physics teachers with better strategies of teaching Physics.
This study is significant as follows:
1. The findings of this study are expected to address the cause of poor
achievement of students in college physics.
2. The study is also expected to provide teachers and school
counselor’s empirical data to base their advisory role upon.
1.7 SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS
The study was limited to selected colleges in Anambra state . The schools selected were those offering physics as one of the science subjects.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Despite the limited scope of this study certain constraints were encountered during the research of this project. Some of the constraints experienced by the researcher were given below:
i. Time: This was a major constraint on the researcher during the period of the work. Considering the limited time given for this study, there was not much time to give this research the needed attention.
ii. Finance: Owing to the financial difficulty prevalent in the country and it’s resultant prices of commodities, transportation fares, research materials etc. The researcher did not find it easy meeting all his financial obligations.
iii. Information Constraints: Nigerian researchers have never had it easy when it comes to obtaining necessary information relevant to their area of study from private business organization and even government agencies. People find it difficult to reveal their internal operations. The primary information was collected through face-to-face interview getting the published materials on this topic meant going from one library to other which was not easy.
1.9 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Physical: Physical sciences that concerns mainly with matter in relation to energy (Olumuyiwa and Okunola, 1992). Physics, as a science subject, has been acknowledged as a pre-requisite for the study of several courses in the universities, for examples engineering, medical and other applied science courses need physics.
Attitude towards Physics: Attitude towards Physics as a subject deals with the beliefs, interest, perceptions and aspirations, feelings, habits, persistence and self-concept of students in dealing with the subject.
Attitudinal formation: Attitudinal formation is determined by a number of motivational bases . According to David (2013 ) citing Rusell (1971) There are four motivational bases for attitude formation. These include utilitarian, valueexpressive, ego-defensive, and knowledge. Attitude formed on utilitarian base is associated with survival, safety and other social needs of individuals. This means that one’s attitude towards teaching and learning of a subject is bound to be favorable if it improves one’s survival needs.
Actualizing the lesson– Taking the trainees to the actual classroom situation where they were required to implement what they had learnt during the training sessions
Diagnostic practices– The practice in assessment in which the teacher seeks to find out where the students have a problem in understanding a certain concept in order to clarify the concept learnt.
Effective learning– The ability for the student to efficiently acquire the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for good performance. Formative practices – The practice in assessment in which the teacher seeks to find out the level of acquisition of knowledge and skills imparted to the students.
Hands on activities– Activities which involve practical work during the teaching and learning process.
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