Attitudes of Japanese students in relation to school biology

Suzuki, Akane (2007) Attitudes of Japanese students in relation to school biology. MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This study explores attitudes in biology classes of Japanese junior high school and high school students and also asks them to reflect back on their school experiences. In Japan, the educational environment for students is very good: for example, many students can have opportunities to go to school and the majority of schools have enough facilities for science classes. However, many students think biology is difficult and there are doubts whether students can use biological knowledge to their advantage in life after graduating from school.

It is argued that the aim of teaching biology is in making educated students: people who can understand the importance of the role of biology in their society and can make judgements or decisions based on biological views, where appropriate. For these reasons, it is very important to not only give biological knowledge but also to encourage the development of positive attitudes towards biology in biology classes.

This study discusses definitions of attitude and is based on one approach in the literature. It would be helpful to understand what causes students attitudes to develop and why students behave positively/negatively in biology classes. It might be possible to encourage more positive student attitudes. In Japan, there is a strong tendency to focus on memorisation. This often fails to connect biology classes with the students’ real life.

This survey was carried out with two different groups: Shotoku gakuen High School and Meiji daigaku huzoku nakano hachioji High School (total is 1270 students) using a questionnaire. The aim was explore students current attitudes in biology classes comparing different grades and different genders. In this way, it seeks to consider how attitudes are changing with age as well as the aspects of their learning which affect boys and girls differently. The chi-square statistic was used to evaluate differences between various groups.

In general, attitudes became less positive with age. As with previous studies in physics, all students were found to show preferences for studying topics and themes which they can connect to previous knowledge and experience and which make sense in the context of their lifestyles.

Boys and girls in most areas hold very similar attitudes but boys tend to be more interested in the topics which relate more to the world outside of them: for instance, the role of biology for society. Girls, on the other hand, tend to prefer topics which are more personal and relate to human interaction: for instance, the human body and how it works. This suggests that great care must be taken in curriculum construction, textbook writing and lesson presentation so that boys and girls are attracted equally.
The study presents an exploratory overview of the situation in a range of schools in Japan. It is based on established psychological models relating to learning and attitude development. The study offers proposals for future work and implications for future teaching in Japan.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Biology education. Japan, Junior High School, attitudes
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LC Special aspects of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Reid, Professor Norman
Date of Award: 9 November 2007
Depositing User: Ms Akane Suzuki
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-24
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2007
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2024 11:54

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