Date of Award

1-1-1991

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Education

School

School of Education

Faculty

Faculty of Education

First Advisor

Professor Jim Wicks

Abstract

This study examined attitudes of Swazi Secondary School Students towards geography and the association of those attitudes with home background, teacher, previous academic achievement, peer group and gender. Attitudes of 435 Swazi students toward geography were assessed in July 1990. The instrument for the measurement of attitudes toward geography was subdivided into eight factors: Interest in the subjects, perceived value of the subject; attitude to the subject teacher; class management; perception of own ability; attitude to other students; perceived teacher attitude to students; and attitude to homework. Home background was measured in terms of the parents and employment and educational level. Peer group was measured in terms of students' report on their peers whilst the teacher variable was measured in terms of the qualification of the teacher. Students' previous academic achievement was computed from the means of the tests the students had taken from February 1990 to June 1990. Gender was taken as a simple dichotomy either male or female. The attitude scales were factor-analysed to gauge the loadings of each item to the eight factors. Except for four items all the other items loaded well into the eight factors identified. The forty Likert scale items were analysed for means and standard deviations. These were further correlated with the variables of home background, peer group, teacher and students' previous academic achievement. The results showed that the majority of Swazi students expressed positive attitudes toward geography. However, the intercorrelations among the variables indicated that the variables had a weak correlation with the expressed attitudes. The conclusions made from this study are: 1. Swazi students had positive attitudes towards geography, but these positive attitudes had correIationation with peer group, home background, teacher qualification and previous academic achievement . 2. Unlike in developed countries where extraneous variables play a major role in the shaping of attitudes, in Swaziland the variables play a lesser role. 3. Previous academic achievement seemed to be more related to attitudes than the other variables. 4. There was no significant difference between male and female attitudes toward geography.

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