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SCIENCE PROCESS SKILLS KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE AMONG PRIMARY SCHOOL SCIENCE TEACHERS IN DAERAH MANJUNG PERAK: A PILOT

STUDY Kartini Abdul Mutalib1, PhD Badariah Hashim1 Ahamad Shabudin Yahaya1, PhD
1

Institut Pendidikan Guru Kampus Ipoh, Hulu Kinta, Perak, Malaysia. . Abstract

Most literature review reported that many students are lacked of science process skills necessary to conduct scientific inquiry even at the most simple level because most teachers do not provision students with required skills. Therefore the purpose of this study are to investigate the primary science teachers knowledge level towards science process skills; to identify the primary science teachers attitude level towards the implementation of science process skills; to study the relationship between primary science teachers attitude and their knowledge towards science process skills and to determine the relationship between primary science teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge towards science process skills. In this survey, 30 primary school science teachers in Daerah Manjung Perak were simple randomly chosen as the samples. The instruments of knowledge, perception and attitudes used in this study were developed by the researchers using expertise references method. The reliability indexes of Alpha Cronbach for the instruments were more than 0.732. Results analysis of this pilot study indicated that the primary science teachers knowledge towards science process skills is at moderate level (M = 72.11, SD = 15.34) but the teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills level is positive (M = 3.62, SD = 0.41). The finding of this study showed that there is no significant relationship between teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and their knowledge towards science process skill (r =.184, n = 30, p >.05). The relationship between teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge towards science process skills was also not significant (r =.116, n = 30, p >.05). Abstrak Kebanyakan kajian lalu melaporkan ramai pelajar kurang menguasai kemahiran proses sains yang diperlukan untuk melaksanakan inkuiri saintifik walaupun pada aras yang mudah kerana guru-guru tidak menyediakan pelajar dengan kemahiran yang diperlukan. Oleh itu, tujuan kajian ini adalah untuk mengkaji tahap pengetahuan guru sains sekolah rendah terhadap kemahiran
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proses sains, tahap sikap guru sains sekolah rendah terhadap pelaksanaan kemahiran proses sains, hubungan antara sikap guru sains sekolah rendah dengan pengetahuannya terhadap kemahiran proses sains dan hubungan antara persepsi guru sains sekolah rendah terhadap kurikulum sains yang menjadi polisi kerajaan dengan pengetahuannya terhadap kemahiran proses sains. Dalam kajian secara tinjauan ini, 30 orang guru sains sekolah rendah di Daerah Manjung Perak telah dipilih secara rawak mudah sebagai sampel kajian. Instrumen pengetahuan, persepsi dan sikap yang digunakan dalam kajian ini telah dibina oleh penyelidik menggunakan kaedah rujukan pakar. Indeks kebolehpercayaan Alpha Cronbach bagi ketiga-tiga instrumen kajian ini melebihi 0.732. Keputusan kajian rintis ini menunjukkan bahawa pengetahuan guru sains sekolah rendah terhadap kemahiran proses sains adalah di tahap sederhana (M = 72.11, SD = 15.34) tetapi tahap sikap guru terhadap pelaksanaan kemahiran proses sains adalah positif (M = 3.62, SD = 0.41). Keputusan kajian ini menunjukkan bahawa tidak terdapat hubungan yang signifikan antara sikap guru terhadap pelaksanaan kemahiran proses sains dengan pengetahuan terhadap kemahiran proses sains (r =.184, n = 30, p >.05). Hubungan antara persepsi guru terhadap kurikulum sains yang menjadi polisi kerajaan dengan pengetahuannya terhadap kemahiran proses sains juga didapati tidak signifikan (r =.116, n = 30, p >.05). Keywords: Science process skills, primary school science teachers knowledge, primary school science teachers attitude INTRODUCTION Several decades ago, primary science was often a study of nature, in some countries called nature study or natural science. But nowadays, Science Education is increasingly turning to the instruction of the processes of science as a valid educational objective because of science is a way of knowing, made up of knowledge and the method or process of acquiring it as well as inculcating certain values in the learner. Science offers a lot of possibilities for experimentation which can help the child to learn about and interpret the environment because it is a powerful tool for the fulfillment of the human potential. In practice, science is a process involves an integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes to develop scientific understanding which means that the teaching of science include the teaching of science process skills. The governments of developing and developed nations believe that the well being of a nation is extricable linked with scientific capability (Skamp, 1988); while people believe that reaching the level developed and civilized countries can only be accomplished through education, especially science education (Turkmen, 2007). At the national level since 1996, Ministry of Education giving greater emphasis that Science Education should lead to the independent self-ability which empowers the ability of individuals or childrens to think, to develop confidence and able to act. Therefore, effective primary science
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education, teachers should have their own knowledge such as scientific facts, concepts and theories to encourage childrens learning through hands-on setting experiences or through the process-oriented inquiry methodology. An open inquiry style of instruction appears best suited to stimulate the learning of science process skills because this type of instruction allows students to pursue problems of genuine relevance (Paul, 1996). Science process skills can be defined as the proficiency in the doing aspects of science and associated with cognitive and investigative skills (Goh, Toh and Chia, 1989). But most literature agreed that science process skills are the sequence of events which are engaged by researchers during taking part in a scientific investigation. According to Opong (1981), the scientific process involves some steps or series of operations undergone by scientist during their investigation. Many researchers also believed that there is a hierarchy of the scientific skills exists and that the more complex skills commonly referred to as higher order or integrated process skills which need more sophisticated abilities. According to Skamp (1988) basic science process skills such as observing, using numbers and classifying are the foundation for the acquisition of integrated science process skills. Both basic and integrated scientific skills are important in any scientific investigation such as conducting projects and carry out experiments. Scientific process skills also known as procedural skills, experimental and investigative science, habits of mind, or scientific inquiry abilities (Harlen, 1999). They are general descriptions of logical and rational thinking which are used in many areas of human endeavour. In thinking and working scientifically, scientists use their understanding of evidence to answer questions and solve problems in such a way that it produces believable evidence (Skamp, 1998). A well cultivated scientific thinker raises vital scientific questions and problems, comes to well-reasoned scientific conclusions and solutions, thinks open-mindedly within convergent systems of science thought and communicates effectively with others in proposing solutions to complex scientific problems. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that learning does not end just with our formal education but has to be continuing throughout our life as a lifelong learning which requires the skills of observing, finding, predicting, hypothesizing, evaluating and interpreting data. Thus the level of these skills that students have achieved as a result of their formal education is an important measure of their preparation for future life (Harlen, 1999). Statement of Problem Many students are reported lacked of science process skills necessary to conduct scientific inquiry even at the most simple level because most teachers do not provision students with required science process skills but assuming that all students possess the skills required to conduct a full scale inquiry investigation (Wilkes and Straits, 2005). Teachers in the primary schools are also not equipped to meet the
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challenges of teaching primary science effectively (Aluko and Aluko, 2008). If these skills are not well developed, then the emerging concepts will not help understanding of the world around. Evidence also shows that many students feel science is difficult and inaccessible (Monk and Osborne, 2000). Therefore, a study needs to be done to explore the primary science teachers knowledge, attitude and perception towards science process skills because the quality and performance of the teachers are always considered as determining factors for the success of educational system of a nation. Research Objectives The purposes of this study are to investigate the: (i) Primary science teachers knowledge level of science process skills. (ii) Primary science teachers attitude level towards the implementation of science process skills. (iii) Relationship between primary science teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and their knowledge of science process skills. (iv) Relationship between primary science teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge of science process skills. Research Questions The following research questions were asked: (i) To what extent is the primary science teachers knowledge level of science process skills? (ii) To what extent is the primary science teachers attitude level towards the implementation of science process skills? (iii) Is there any relationship exist between primary science teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and their knowledge of science process skills? (iv) Is there any relationship exist between primary science teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge of science process skills? Research Hypotheses Ho(1) : There is no relationship between primary science teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and their knowledge of science process skills. Ho(2) : There is no relationship between primary science teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge of science process skills.
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Significance of the Study The implication and result analysis of this study will serve as feedback to encourage primary science teachers to reflect upon their existing conceptions about how the world works, that is science ideas as well as their current beliefs about what it means to facilitate primary students science learning . It also provides a particular perspective with which to interpret the implementation of our national science syllabus. Due to important of scientific literacy of teachers, science educators should re-examine the quality of in-service teacher; and if we would like to enhance students scientific literacy, the quality of teachers should be given priority ( ChiChin, 2005). This study also would bring a new point view for primary school science education and the other related study. LITERATURE REVIEW In practice, science is a process which involves an integration of knowledge, skills and attitudes to develop scientific understanding during investigation. Scientific knowledge is needed to achieve greater understanding of God and His work. As students learn science, teacher should encourage developing the knowledge and attitudes on which scientific investigations depends on. As a resourceful person, teachers are the determining factors that must have the investigative skills and positive attitude towards science process skills (Aluko and Aluko, 2008). According to Triandis (1971), Marof Redzuan (2001) and Burns (2000) attitudes is a set of affective reactions towards the attitude object, derived from concepts of beliefs that the individual has concerning the object, and predisposing the individual to behave in a certain manner towards the object. Attitudes consist of three components which include cognitive, emotional and action tendency components that lead to particular behavioural intents. Humans attitudes, belief and behaviors are very complex, each components having their own relationship and have different level of organization (Abdullah Hassan and Ainon Mohd, 1997); attitudes showed or explained the mental and nerves readiness which organized through experiences (Allports, 1967). Scientific attitudes guide the thinking skills of children as they search for meaning in the world around them; the scientific attitudes are derived from the scientific values (Wolfinger, 2000). The relationship among scientific content (knowledge), scientific process, attitude and values as suggested by Wolfinger (2000) can be seen in Figure 1. Teachers have far greater control over how the scientific content or knowledge is taught. In particular, teachers also have great control over the process skills developed to the students. Teachers should select hands-on, minds-on investigations which involved the process skills to challenge students through problem solving. Teachers also completely control over two of the area of science: the scientific attitudes and values as they are presented to students in the classroom. Attitudes and values are
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taught through the actions of the teachers that are through modeling. The picture of science as a fusion of content, process skills or scientific skills, attitudes and values should govern how science approached in the elementary and middle school. Without knowing content, we cannot understand the grandeur of the universe; without engaging in the processes, we cannot experience the excitement of the search, and without encountering the attitudes and values of scientists, we cannot begin to value the knowledge gained. Science is a discipline involves acquisition of content matter (knowledge) and the processes of acquiring it as well as inculcating certain values in the learner (Aluko and Aluko, 2008).

Scientific Content (knowledge)

Scientific Values

Scientific Processes and Attitudes

Figure 1. The Relationship among Content, Process, Attitudes and Values (Wolfinger, 2000) METHODOLOGY In this survey, 30 primary science teachers in Daerah Manjung Perak were simple randomly chosen as the samples. The independent variables in this study were the teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and the teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum while the dependent variable is the teachers knowledge towards science process skills. All data were collected from the samples through face to face interaction at Pusat Kegiatan Guru Daerah Manjung Perak. There were three sets of instrument use in this study that are the knowledge instrument, the attitude instrument and the perception instrument using the fivepoint Likert type scale (strongly disagree to strongly agree). The Cronbachs alpha coefficient for the inner consistency of the instruments was more than 0.732. For the validity of the instruments, the researchers consulted three expertises in science education to evaluate the instruments. At the analysis of data, the answers given to the scales by the primary science teachers were evaluated and then analyzed before
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converted into means of statistical techniques such as mean and standard deviation. The data were also tested for normality distribution before finally determined the relationship between independent and dependent variable using Pearson Product Moment by SPSS statistical programme. RESULT AND DISCUSSION Demographic background of samples The total sample of teachers involved this pilot study were 30 primary school science teachers in Daerah Manjung Perak. The proportion of females to males in the sample was 53.3 percent females and 46.7 percent males as indicated in Table 1. The proportion of teachers position was 3.3 percent Senior Science Teacher, 36.7 percent Head of Science Panatia and 60.0 percent Science Teacher as shown in Table 2 whiles the teachers experiences in teaching primary science shown in Table 3. Table 1. Gender Composition of Teachers Samples
Gender Females Males Total (n) Frequency (f) 14 16 30 Percent (%) 46.7 53.3 100.0

Table 2. Teachers Position in Primary School


Teachers Position Senior Science Teacher Head of Science Panatia Science Teacher Total (n) Frequency (f) 1 11 18 30 Percent (%) 3.3 36.7 60.0 100.0

Table 3. Teachers Experiences in Teaching Primary Science


Teachers Experiences 0-2 years 3-5 years 6-10 years 11-15 years Total (n) Frequency (f) 3 11 9 7 30 Percent (%) 10.0 36.7 30.0 23.3 100.0

Teachers knowledge level towards science process skills The result of this study showed that the primary science teachers knowledge towards science process skills is at moderate level (%M = 72.11, SD = 15.34). This is because most of the primary science teachers (53.3%) had experience more than six years in science teaching and are more knowledgeable compared to those
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experiences less than six years (46.7%). Many studies proved that there are differences between expert and novice teachers and between more and less effective teachers (Slavin, 2003). Moreover, no one can teach anyone anything without personal knowledge and experience of the subject-matter (Clerici, 2008). Table 4. Teachers Knowledge Level towards Science Process Skills
Teachers knowledge level (%) very weak (0-24) weak (25-49) moderate (50-74) high (75-100) minimum score maximum score %M SD

72.11 32 95

15.34

Teachers attitude level towards the implementation of science process skills The finding of this study indicated that teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills level is positive (M=3.62, SD=0.41). Positive attitude towards the implementation of science process skills among the primary science teachers showed that they are aware about the value of scientific reasoning, scientific accomplishments, and the benefits of advancing science and technology to the pupils and society as well. This result also showed that teachers are very positive, committed, concern and has a set of affective reactions towards achieving the third major goal of primary science education that is the development of positive attitudes toward science and scientist. Teachers attitude was found positive because most of them have direct teaching experiences more than six years. This result supported the attitude theory that attitude can be developed through experiences (Tan, 2003; Allports, 1967) and attitude was more stable because of direct experiences (Newhouse, 1990). Teachers who get better each year are the ones who are willing to open to new ideas and interested to look at their own teaching critically. Table 5. Teachers Attitude Level towards the Implementation of Science Process Skills
Teachers attitude level negative (1.00-2.33) neutral (2.34-3.66) positive (3.67-5.00) minimum score maximum score M SD

3.62 2.29 4.43

0.41

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Relationship between teachers attitude towards the implementation of science process skills and their knowledge towards science process skills However, analysis of this study showed that there is no significant relationship between teachers attitude and their knowledge towards science process skill (r = .184, n = 30, p >.05), therefore, the null hypothesis Ho (1) in this study was accepted. This study showed that the primary science teachers level of knowledge did not have any relationship with the teachers attitude . May be there are other factors or variables which influence teachers attitude compared to their knowledge. This result is also different compared to the study done by Chao-Chia, Guey-Shiun, Chun-Hong and Bih-Shya (2008) which found that teachers knowledge showed a significant positive correlation with attitude. According to Slavin (2003), although subject matter knowledge is necessary to be a good teacher, but if teachers dont have the positive attitude of teaching, they are going to end up with nothing. Table 6. Relationship between Teachers Attitude and Their Knowledge towards Science Process Skills
teachers knowledge r Teachers attitude ** level of significance 0.01 * level of significance 0.05 where: +1.00 < r < -1.00 .184 p .330

Relationship between teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge towards science process skills Result of this study also revealed that there is no significant relationship between primary science teachers perception on government policy of science curriculum and their knowledge towards science process skills (r = .116, n = 30, p >.05) therefore, the null hypothesis Ho (2) in this study was also accepted. This result indicated that primary science teachers knowledge towards science process skills did not influence by their perception on government policy of science curriculum. However, most studied reported that teachers perception about curriculum, epistemology, the nature of science and science education, students and parents expectation and the role of teachers affect the way of science teacher teach (Uzuntiryaki and Boz, 2007).

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Table 7. Relationship between Teachers Perceptions on Government Policy of Science Curriculum and Their Knowledge towards Science Process Skills
teachers knowledge r Teachers perception ** level of significance 0.01 * level of significance 0.05 where: +1.00 < r < -1.00 .116 p .540

CONCLUSION Scientific literacy is now the key goal of science education. As students learn in science, they should be encouraged to develop the attitudes on which scientific investigation depends. These attitudes include curiosity, honesty in the recording and validation of data, flexibility, persistence, critical-mindedness, openmindedness, willingness to suspend judgment, willingness to tolerate uncertainty, and an acceptance of the provisional nature of scientific explanation. Learning concepts, thinking and working scientifically are interdependent and that is why teaching science needs to integrate them together for the purpose of effective science learning. Primary science teachers knowledge and beliefs about science, about science teaching and about children s ability to succeed in science strongly influence how they teach science in their classroom (Martin, 2009). A good science teacher was characterized by teachers being enthusiastic about their subject, setting it in everyday contexts, which have a good spread expertise across science, who have individual subject loyalty and willing to spend time both in and out of lessons, talking with the students about science, careers and individual problems (Monk and Osborne, 2000). Therefore it is suggested that, teachers primary science process skills knowledge level need to be improved if we want students to be able to solve scientific skills problems successfully. A synthesis of an understanding of key concepts, an understanding of evidence and competence in a range of scientific skills are required in approaching the development and testing out ideas of any interventions. Teachers should also hold positive attitudes towards the implementation of science process skills because their positive attitudes have an impact on their ways of teaching. Teachers with positive attitudes also influenced students achievements (Turkmen, 2007). Further study should use more samples to examine primary science teachers knowledge and attitude towards science process skills and explore in details why there is no relationship between teachers knowledge and attitude towards science process skills.

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