Secondary science teachers' attitudes toward and beliefs about science reading and science textbooks



Science textbooks are dominant influences behind most secondary science instruction but little is known about teachers' approach to science reading. The purpose of this naturalistic study was to develop and validate a Science and Reading Questionnaire to assess secondary science teachers' attitudes toward science reading and their beliefs or informed opinions about science reading. A survey of 428 British Columbia secondary science teachers was conducted and 215 science teachers responded. Results on a 12-item Likert attitude scale indicated that teachers place high value on reading as an important strategy to promote learning in science and that they generally accept responsibility for teaching content reading skills to science students. Results on a 13-item Likert belief scale indicated that science teachers generally reject the text-driven model of reading, but they usually do not have well-formulated alternative models to guide their teaching practices. Teachers have intuitive beliefs about science reading that partially agree with many research findings, but their beliefs are fragmented and particularly sketchy in regard to the cognitive and metacognitive skills required by readers to learn from science texts. The findings for attitude, belief, and total scales were substantiated by further questions in the Science and Reading Questionnaire regarding classroom practice and by individual interviews and classroom observations of a 15-teacher subsample of the questionnaire respondents.