Supervisors: prof Miia Rannikmäe ja prof Jack Holbrook
Opponent: prof Shirley Simon, Professor of Education, Institute of Education, University of London
The main goal of the current study was to support chemistry teachers in developing beliefs and practices relevant to a new teaching approach geared to enhance students' scientific and technological literacy (STL). This study used case study methodology to describe and interpret the developing chemistry teacher beliefs throughout the collaborative action research. Five experienced teachers, in cooperation with the author, implemented STL modules in their classrooms, developed four new modules and disseminated the STL ideas plus the developed modules to a wider teacher audience. The teacher beliefs were analysed based on Ajzen's Theory of Planned Behaviour (2005) by looking at the teacher's (a) attitude, (b) perceived subjective norms, and (c) behavioural control regarding the new teaching approach. The processes of teacher change and the course of the research were investigated by teacher interviews, meeting records and teacher informal commentaries. Moreover, background information about teacher change was gathered through classroom observations and student questionnaires. Throughout the three-year project, teachers developed and elaborated further their mainly positive attitudinal beliefs towards the new approach, while confronting their substantial constraints (mainly negative behavioural control beliefs). Evidence supported the formation of teachers' positive behavioural control beliefs (e.g. increased self-efficacy) and positive subjective norm beliefs (e.g. support from the students; the other participants) towards the new approach, although the extent, pace and nature varied depending on the teacher's individuality. The major role, eliciting change in teacher initial beliefs, was considered to be the addition of new positive social norm beliefs (support from the group; positive group norms towards the STL approach approval from the other teachers). Strengthened attitudinal beliefs helped to overcome, in some cases, the initially perceived negative behavioural control beliefs. Implications and recommendations for future research on teacher beliefs, as well as the viability of collaborative action research to support teacher development and initiate curriculum development were indicated.