Date of Award

5-1-2016

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

McIntyre, Christie

Abstract

Science education studies show that many preservice science teachers have negative attitudes toward teaching science, yet they are expected to teach it in an effective manner. Previous studies on preservice science teachers’ attitudes have focused on studying their attitudes toward teaching science as a single concept, yet the literature shows that attitudes should be studied as a psychological construct consisting of cognitive beliefs, affective states, and perceived control beliefs. There is a dearth of research on preservice science teachers’ attitudes toward teaching science. Specifically, no such study has been conducted before in Saudi Arabia using this manner of exploring attitudes. As such, this convergent parallel mixed-methods study had threefold aims: to explore Saudi preservice elementary teachers’ attitude dimensions toward teaching science, including their cognitive beliefs, affective states, and perceived control beliefs; to establish the relationship between preservice elementary teachers’ cognitive beliefs, affective feelings, and perceived control dimensions; and to determine the underlying reasons for preservice elementary science teachers’ attitude dimensions toward teaching science. The data was collected by using a questionnaire made up of two sections: the quantitative section was a DAS survey developed by van Aalderen-Smeets and Walma van der Molen (2013), and the qualitative section comprised open-ended questions. The reason for using a mixed-methods design was to gain a comprehensive understanding of the collected information. The study was conducted among 92 Saudi preservice science teachers at a large university in western Saudi Arabia. Data was analyzed by using T-tests, ANOVA, and the Pearson correlation for the quantitative data, and a thematic analysis approach for the qualitative data. The results of the survey showed that most preservice science teachers have positive attitudes’ dimensions toward teaching science. The results of the qualitative data also supported these results and yielded 19 themes regarding the factors that impact preservice science teachers’ attitudes’ dimensions. The implications of these results for future research and practicum training are discussed herein.

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