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Abstract

A desire to foster enduring, positive attitudes toward science teaching among elementary school teachers led to study of self-perceptions. On the basis of evidence for strong links between locus of control orientation and attitudes, an attempt was made to enhance internality through instruction.

A quasiexperimental research strategy was employed to compare the effects of two instructional treatments, with pretest measures being used to check the initial equivalence of treatment groups, and analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) being used to test treatment effects. Both treatments incorporated strategies known to have positive effects on attitudes, but the experimental treatment was novel in its emphasis on self-management, goal clarification, and individualized course expectations.

There was found by ANCOVA to be a significant (p ≦ 0.05) difference in science locus of control (SciLOC) orientation between groups following treatment, with subjects exposed to the experimental treatment exhibiting greater internality. Quantitative comprehension and subject age were employed as covariates of SciLOC orientation, and subject gender was employed as a moderator variable. Though the treatment effect is small, accounting for 3% of the variance in SciLOC orientation, control orientation is shown susceptible to educational intervention. These results encourage attention to teacher attitudes from a rather new perspective, and they raise several interesting research questions regarding instructional methods and the long-term effects of enhancing internality.