Educational researchers have suggested that the tension between the learner?centred and teacher?centred pedagogies represents a real classroom issue that influences teaching and learning. This issue may be particularly significant in East?Asian countries such as Taiwan due to some cultural influences. For example, teacher authority is highly valued in the culture. Accordingly, the present study aims to develop a questionnaire?the Teacher Authority Survey (TAS), with actual and preferred versions?to explore students? perceptions/preferences regarding teacher authority in the earth science course. The relationships among students? perceptions/preferences for teacher authority, learning attitudes, and learning achievements were investigated. Six hundred and seventeen Taiwanese high school students were administered the TAS, the earth science attitudinal questionnaire, and achievement assessment. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses indicated that the TAS developed in this study has satisfactory validity and reliability measures. Correlation analysis indicated that the classrooms more oriented to learner?centredness were correlated with more favourable attitudes toward learning. Moreover, three clusters of preferred teacher authority?namely, teacher?centred authority, uncertain authority, and sharing authority?were identified. Students who preferred sharing authority tended to have more favourable learning attitudes, whereas students in the uncertain authority group seemed to have lower earth science attitudes and achievements.
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