Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Biology


Annette Upmeier zu Belzen, Alexandra Moormann

Attitudes - Intervention
Attitudes of learners towards school and learning in subjects “Sachunterricht” and Natural Sciences in Berlin

This longitudinal study is based on researches on learners' attitudes towards school in general and Natural Sciences for primary school (Christen 2004) as well as Biology for secondary school levels (Upmeier zu Belzen & Christen 2004).
Central aspects of this work are the transitions between the subjects “Sachunterricht” and Natural Sciences as well as between Natural Sciences and Biology. Another point of view is the general importance of the topic biology within these subjects.
Transitions often implicate problems like social disparity, pressure to perform and are realized as meaningful incidences.
Previous researches pointed out that the methodical design of education influences the attitude development. These studies don’t take into account how Biology as a discipline is constituted and perceived. In the social psychology more influencing factors are identified like the climate of class, behave with classmates and their behaviour as well as essentially the teacher.
Based on the learners’ attitudes a concept for differentiation in form of an intervention will be designed, performed and evaluated.
In course of the longitudinal study three data collections have been made between 2006 and 2008. The attitudes of 1543 learners at four primary schools and two secondary schools are identified by closed questionnaires. The sample contained pupils from grade 1 to grade 6.
In the framework of interviews causes for attitude development with regard to the transition should be identified by the research. The design of the interviews depends on conclusions of the second data collection. Ten pupils of four primary schools will be interviewed pre and past the transition in 2008.
The intervention based upon the typological attitudes of pupils is planned in grade 7 for one or two units in Biology.
The first out of three waves of data collection in 2006 has shown the distribution of different attitude levels in Berlin and it allows a comparison with previous results of other regions of Germany. Furthermore the conclusions of the quasi-longitudinal study point out that Berlin with the six years of primary school and the school subject Natural Sciences taught in grade 5 and 6 generally produce a more positive attitude development. This assumption is supported by the conclusions in 2007 after the second data collection.