Low-achieving students’ attitudes towards learning chemistry and chemistry teaching methods
The aims of this study were to determine low-achieving students’ attitudes towards chemistry and how the attitudes differ within a low achieving group. The most preferred teaching methods were also defined. Empirical data (n = 2949) were collected by stratified sampling from fifteen-year-old Finnish lower-secondary school students as part of a Finnish National Board of Education assessment. The students were divided into five groups according to their achievement in the chemistry-exam. 159 of the students who had deficient exam results were defined as low-achieving (LA) students, and within that group non-native speakers, students with special needs and gender were selected as the background variables. Boys, non-native speakers and those who had special support had more positive attitudes towards chemistry within the LA group. The most preferred teaching methods in the low-achieving group were (i) visiting companies, institutes, museums and exhibitions; (ii) using the internet, videos, magazines and books for studying and (iii) small group working. According to the LA students their teachers should take more into account their wishes for teaching methods. This study suggests that more positive attitudes could lead to a better achievement when the teaching methods are preferred by most of the students. This paper proposes some ideas for both teachers and teacher training.