Factors related to observed attitude change toward learning chemistry among university students

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C. Anders R. Berg *
Chemical Education Research and Development, Department of Chemistry, Kemihuset, Umeå Universitet, 90187, Umeå, Sweden. E-mail: Anders.Berg@chem.umu.se

Received 11th November 2004 , Accepted 12th January 2005

To gain insight into factors associated with changes in attitude toward learning chemistry, six students who displayed major attitude changes were identified through a pre-and post-course attitude questionnaire administered to sixty-six first-year university chemistry students. Those with largest attitude changes, both positive and negative, were selected to highlight the contrast between students. The six students were interviewed; descriptions of their one-semester chemistry course experiences were analyzed to identify factors associated with their change in attitude. A positive attitude change was associated with evidence of motivated behaviour, while a negative change was linked to less motivated behaviour. Students addressed similar factors in the educational setting, but students with positive attitude changes exhibited fewer negative views of educational factors, while students with negative attitude changes showed an opposite pattern. Since the same factors, students’ perceived level of teacher empathy for their efforts at chemistry learning, affected both groups, this indicates a possibility for changes in educational setting beneficial to all students. [Chem. Educ. Res. Pract., 2005, 6 (1), 1-18]