An Examination of the Factors Affecting Prospective Teachers' Perceptions of Faculty Members Using Chaid Analysis

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study aims to examine prospective teachers' perceptions of faculty members and the demographic variables affecting these perceptions. The population of the study consists of undergraduate students attending the Faculty of Education of Van Yuzuncu Yil University in the 2009-2010 academic year. A total of 500 students n their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th year of university education, selected using stratified random sampling, made up the sample of the study. For data collection, the Perception of Faculty Members Scale IPFMS] developec oy the researchers was used. Considering that scores received by the participants from the scale may have a Heterogeneous structure, indicating that the individuals in the sample may have come from different populations, the dependent variable was subjected to a two-step cluster analysis. Predictors that may affect students oerceptions were modeled using Chaid analysis. The tree structure that emerged after the Chaid analysis of the Perception of Faculty Members Scale IPFMS] showed that the variables of whether the students perceive the university education they receive as adeguate, whether they are attending the department of their choice, anc gender were significant predictors of the dependent variable, in this order of significance.

Key Words

Perceptions of Faculty Members, Prospective Teachers, Chaid Analysis.

Every living organism requires an environment for living. Adjustment to the social environment is a product of perceptions. Perceiving the complex relationships between various stimuli, determining crucial environmental information and developing an expertise on this subject are all vital for survival. This process of perception has a dynamic nature and develops over time. The environment constantly offers, besides simple audio and visual stimuli, new affordances such as complex relationships between objects and events. These affordances offered by the environment enable new acts, and experiences gained with each new act make new affordances possible. Thus, the affordances of objects, events, and surfaces are explored and learnt (Miller, 2008, p. 452-455). In the beginning, sensations are meaningless stimuli. However, it is almost impossible for a "pure" sensation to exist. This is because the brain instantly and automatically turns sensations into perceptions. Fields of association in the brain turn these meaningless pieces of information into perceptions (Plotnik, 2009). In sum, each sense organ directs the stimuli it receives to the relevant field of the brain, where they are first turned into meaningless pieces of information and then to meaningful images called perceptions.

Perception is a special event that cannot be observed from the outside, the existence of which we can know only via inference. We can make inferences about the perceptions of an individual by examining his/her behavior, talk or acts. As such, perceptions are long-term and general evaluations concerning the object (including the individual himself or herself) or the issue in question (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986). The process of perception works pretty much the same in every individual, but the perceptual product that emerges is different in each case. In other words, in the process of turning sensations into perceptions, perceptions are also individualized. Personal experiences, emotions, memories, and knowledge individualize the process of perception. In this manner, perceptions become transformed, skewed and even distorted reflections of the real world (Goldstein, 2002). Perceptions are not accurate reflections of events, people, situations or objects. The same stimuli may result in different perceptions. For example, of the three people looking at the same dog, one may perceive the dog as a lovely creature, one may perceive it as scary/dangerous, and one may perceive it as dirty (Morris, 2002). This is why perceptions are individualized interpretations of the objects, animals, humans, and events in the real world, not accurate reflections of them (Plotnik, 2009). …