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South African Journal of Education

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Perceptions of teachers of the application of science process skills in the teaching of Geography in secondary schools in the Free State province

AM Rambuda, WJ Fraser

Abstract


This article reports on teachers' perceptions of the application of science process skills in the teaching of Geography in secondary schools in the Free State province. A teachers' questionnaire on the application of the science process skills in the teaching of Geography was constructed and the questionnaire was content validated against the theoretical assumptions supported by the literature and practical applications of the subject. The questionnaires were distributed to 150 respondents and 71 completed questionnaires were returned for further analysis. The responses to the items of the questionnaire were subjected to a principal component factor analysis and a varimax method of rotation. Two prominent factors were identified and investigated. Factor 1 was labeled "basic science process skills" and reaffirmed teachers' understanding of the basic process skills as autonomous and independent functions. The second factor confirmed the existence of a higher level of advanced and integrated process skills that build upon the basic or foundational process skills. These results confirmed the researchers' assumption that respondents could distinguish cognitively between these two very prominent constructs. They were comfortable with the fact that the science processes applicable to the teaching of Geography could be grouped into two main distinctive clusters or factors. The homogeneous clustering of items also emphasized the understanding that the classical science process skills could easily be applied to the teaching of Geography. This assumption was supported by the empirical investigation and findings. In addition, the results supported the hypothesis that although teachers did not apply integrated science process skills to the teaching of Geography on a regular basis, they were well-acquainted with the fact that these skills remain an important facet in the teaching of Geography in schools.

South African Journal of Education Vol.24(1) 2004: 10-17



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