Influence of Teacher Perceptions of Students on Teaching High School Biology

Ebru Öztürk Akar, Ali Yıldırım
*Asst. Prof. Dr., Abant Izzet Baysal University, Faculty of Education, Ankara, TURKEY
** Prof. Dr., Middle East Technical University Faculty of Education, Ankara, TURKEY

Problem Statement: The research question guiding the current study was “How do teachers’ perceptions of students shape the way they teach Biology?” 
Purpose of the Study: The purpose of this study was to determine how teacher perceptions of students influenced the way teachers teach biology through teachers’ reported practices and perceptions. 
Methods: A survey questionnaire was administered to 685 biology teachers sampled through stratified random and cluster random sampling strategies. Data gathered on teaching methods, techniques, instructional materials used in teaching biology, and teachers’ belief and perceptions of their students were analyzed through inferential statistics (chi-square and cross-tabulation).
Findings and Results: The results highlighted differences in the way biology was taught in classes of teachers with different beliefs and with different perceptions of students. They use different teaching methods, techniques, and instructional materials.
Conclusions and Recommendations: Teachers’ beliefs and perceptions should be examined as a means to improve instructional practices for science education not just in Turkey but also in other countries. In order to be able to examine teachers’ beliefs and perceptions and to gain insight into the way teachers think and act in the classroom, policy capturing, repertory grid technique and process tracing, questionnaires, semi structured interviews and classroom observations should be used.
Keywords: Teacher perceptions, students, teaching biology, teaching methods, instructional materials.