Students’ attitude towards chemistry in selected secondary schools in Kayunga district, Uganda.
Adania, Jackline Monica
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The persistent under-achievement in Chemistry has warranted further research to determine what factors have not been considered nor given enough attention in the on-going reform efforts. The attitude of students towards Chemistry is a factor that is known to influence students’ learning and achievement in the subject. The purpose of this study therefore was to determine the effect of students’ attitudes towards Chemistry. The study would provide insights into some of the learners’ behaviors as a result of their attitudes towards the subject. This study adopted a descriptive survey design due to the implicit nature of the study. Seven secondary schools in Kayunga district were purposively selected to participate in the study and the target population comprised of form two, three and four students. Random sampling was used to select the students from the schools and data was collected using students’ questionnaires, teachers’ interview guide and observation checklist. The questionnaires were designed to capture some of the students’ perceptions and beliefs regarding the subject which were grouped according to themes including liking, difficulty, usefulness and future expectations regarding the subject, learners’ ability in the subject and achievement. The data was captured and arranged with the use of statistical package for social sciences (SPSS). Analysis was done by calculating simple frequencies and percentages. These findings were used to make inferences and conclusions. The study found out that most students had a positive attitude towards Chemistry and that they perceived Chemistry as doable, learnable and important yet this did not translate to good grades. The findings also show that perceptions and beliefs, perceived learning abilities and competencies and previous performances of students in Chemistry affected their level of motivation leading to low outcomes. The findings also show that teachers used demonstration and experimentation, lectures and practical methods, problem solving as well as question and answer method. These approaches of learning promote positive attitude in learners as supported by; (Garson, 1988) who said that “If students are to learn science (chemistry), we must give them respect for observation rather than the pronouncement of textbooks.” The study recommends the use of varied instructional strategies by the teachers, which promote discovery and elicit learner interest hence promoting a positive attitude among students. The students should be encouraged to apply the taught knowledge and skills through feedback and assignments. There is therefore, a need to offer and build on experiences and opportunities that inspire the students to engage fully during learning and acquire knowledge and skills that would enable them excel in the Chemistry because they like and value it.