School culture and attitudes to science : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Masterate in Education at Massey University

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Massey University
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This study investigated possible relationships between school culture and attitudes to science held by teachers and students. It was a single site case study situated in an Intermediate school, in a middle class suburb of Auckland's North Shore. It describes how the school has chosen to solve its science delivery problems by setting up a system of prepared science lessons in addition to participating in a science fair and science badge scheme. The values underpinning the school science culture were seen to be: a predominately traditional approach to science, strong leadership, an emphasis on outside schemes and competition. Teachers had a generally positive attitude to science teaching but expressed both positive and negative sentiments regarding science support in the school. They felt they would have more confidence if their knowledge of science content increased. Students also had a generally positive attitude to science. Boys, Asian students and form one students scored more highly on curiosity towards and positive image of science than girls, European students and form two students respectively. Students indicated they enjoyed challenging, hands-on science, where they were active both mentally and physically. The study concludes by proposing two models which draw links between the culture of science in the school and attitudes to science.
North Shore, Auckland, Intermediate school science, Teacher attitudes, School student attitudes, Science study and teaching, School science, New Zealand