An Evaluative Study of Social Learning Theory Based Scientific Attitudes on Academic Success, Gender and Socio-Economical Level

By Demirbas, Murat; Yagbasan, Rahmi | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, May 2006 | Go to article overview

An Evaluative Study of Social Learning Theory Based Scientific Attitudes on Academic Success, Gender and Socio-Economical Level


Demirbas, Murat, Yagbasan, Rahmi, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Abstract

In this study, the results of educational activities based on social learning theory in improving scientific attitudes among primary school students were investigated. An experimental and control group design was used with students who attended 7th grade classes at three different schools. By determining two control groups, the teacher effect was minimized. In the experimental group, social learning theory based activities were carried out; however, in the first and second control groups, activities in the curriculum of science lessons were given. The data were gathered by administering the scientific attitude inventory, academic success test, and socio-economic level inventory as pre-and-post tests along with a permanency test. The results showed that educational activities based on social learning theory were more effective in improving students' scientific attitudes. Moreover, academic success was an important variable in the process of evaluating scientfic attitudes; but gender and socio-economical levels were not.

Key Words

Social Learning Theory, Scientific Attitudes, Science Teaching.

Science education must contribute not only to students' cognitive developments but also their affective developments. Therefore, activities concerning the programs must be prepared with the consideration of objectives related with cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. However, it can be seen that activities are usually done heavily based on cognitive objectives, wheras neglecting affective and psychomotor domains (Akbas, 2004; Selvi, 1996). Moreover, curriculum prepared for students usually focus on the cognitive learning and mostly exclude affective domain and its effectiveness (Bacanli 1999; Bilen 2001).

Science as a subject at schools makes positive contributions to the development of students and provides permanency of their interest and desire to learn. The first level that students face with science is thorough basic activities during their primary school years. During this period, students should be helped to love science as a field, notice the basic principles of scientific method, develop permanency of interest and desire to learn, acquire the scientific process skills, and be provided with facilities to decide an appropriate field of study related with science (Bikmaz, 2001). The evaluation of success in scientific teaching and learning is made through positive changes in behaviors. Therefore, behaviors are defined during teaching plans and goals are formed accordingly.

The Use of Social Learning Theory in Science Teaching for Acquisition of Scientific Attitudes

When studies related with attitudes in science teaching examined, it can be seen that attitudes toward science and scientific attitude have been the focus (Byrne & Johnstone, 1998; Koballa, 1988). Ba- saran (1978) describes scientific attitude as the separation of individuals between the problems, events, situations, and feelings that they experience and comment on them based on logical data. In the primary school period, the teaching activities might increase the effectiveness of general education by taking the scientific ad affective aspects into consideration in order to develop scientific attitude and planning. Giving breif life histories about famous scientists, museum visits, and activities on natural life will help students appreciate scientific education (Ata, 1999).

According to the social learning theory, learning by modeling is achieved through transmission of the information. The observer acquires the symbolic images of the behavi

ors that they modeled which directs him to the appropriate behaviors during the observation process. Thus, learning through modeling has four prerequisites. These steps are as follows:

1. Attention

2. Retention

3. Motor reproduction

4. Motivation

Bandura (1986) states that individuals do not need to learn everything directly because they are able to learn lots of things by observing others' experiences. …

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