Qualities of effective secondary science teachers : perspectives of university biology students.
This research was an attempt to hear the student voice concerning secondary science teacher effectiveness and to share that voice with those who impact the educational process. It was a snapshot of university freshmen biology students’ opinions of the qualities of effective secondary science teachers based on their high school science experiences. The purpose of this study was to compile a list of effective secondary science teacher qualities as determined through a purposeful sampling of university second semester biology students and determine the role of the secondary science teacher in promoting interest and achievement in science, as well as the teacher’s influence on a students’ choice of a science career. The research was a mixed methods design using both quantitative and qualitative data obtained through the use of a 24 question electronic survey. There were 125 participants who provided information concerning their high school science teachers. Respondents provided information concerning the qualities of effective secondary science teachers and influences on the students’ present career choice. The quantitative data was used to construct a hierarchy of qualities of effective secondary science teachers, divided into personal, professional, and classroom management qualities. The qualitative data was used to examine individual student responses to questions concerning secondary science teacher effectiveness and student career choice. The results of the research indicated that students highly value teachers who are both passionate about the subject taught and passionate about their students. High school science students prefer teachers who teach science in a way that is both interesting and relevant to the student. It was determined that the greatest influence on a secondary student’s career choice came from family members and not from teachers. The secondary teacher’s role was to recognize the student’s interest in the career and provide encouragement, motivation, and success in support of the chosen career.