Indigenous Australian Elementary Pre-service Teachers and their Motivation towards Learning Western Science

By Barbara M. Odgers.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

Thirty four Indigenous Australian elementary pre-service teachers’ motivation towards learning science was investigated using a 35-item questionnaire based on the Tuan, Chin & Shiek (2005) six scale motivation instrument and previously trialled by Odgers (2007) with 329 Australian elementary pre-service teachers. Indigenous Australians enrolled in the Associate Degree in Indigenous Education and Bachelor of Education (Primary)(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) at the university had similar motivation towards science learning as the larger number of pre-service elementary school teachers enrolled in the mainstream Bachelor of Education (Primary). Both groups responded positively to items of five of the six scales (Self Efficacy, Active Learning Strategies, Science Learning Value, Performance Goal, Achievement Goal and Learning Environment Stimulation) and responded negatively to items of the Performance Goal scale. As the Indigenous Australians entering the Associate Degree in Indigenous Education and Bachelor of Education (Primary)(Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies) do not, as a whole, have the same level of high school education as the mainstream students, these findings validate the position taken by the university to offer special programs in teacher education to Australian Indigenous peoples. The programs have enabled Indigenous pre-service teachers to gain positive attitudes to learning Western science and also gain skills to the same standard as other Australian students, a goal of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy of the Australian Government.

Keywords: Indigenous, Pre-Service Teachers, Motivation, Western Science Learning

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 5, pp.97-114. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.251MB).

Dr. Barbara M. Odgers

Lecturer, School of Education, Brisbane Campus, Australian Catholic University, Virginia, Qld, Australia

Dr. Barbara M Odgers is a lecturer in the School of Education at Australian Catholic University, Brisbane Campus. Her major teaching areas are Science Education for pre-service primary school teachers and Environmental Studies. Her research interests are science education, education for sustainability and disturbance ecology.

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