Page: 38-61 Author: Pavelková, I., Škaloudová, A., Hrabal, V. Key words: pedagogical psychology, motivation, school subject, popularity of school subject, difficultness of school subject, importance of school subject, pedagogical-psychological diagnostics, social representation, subjective representation
The school subject fulfils its function if it mediates adequate information to pupils, i.e. information that will eventually help them to achieve a full and satisfied personal life and success in professional life. Pedagogical-psychological research in this context provides information necessary for a deeper understanding of individual components of the educational process (especially pupil, teacher and class) and its function (e.g. psychic processes and specialities activated during lessons, educational communication and interaction), and this is information that could be used to establish criteria of efficiency of the educa-tional process, especially at the process level (e.g. activation and development of cognitive and motivational processes in teaching and through teaching, classification and conceptualisation of teaching and learning results from the point of view of pupils‘ psychological processes.)
The study presented aims to identify global characteristics of school subjects providing information about social representation of these subjects in the pupil population.
The survey set consisted of 2071 pupils in 101 classes from 18 schools monitored in 2005 and 2006 and 1037 pupils and 179 teachers in 50 classes from 7 schools in 2007. The schools were chosen to ensure a good representative sample of schools in the Czech Republic.
The following variables were measured: popularity of the subject, difficulty of the subject, importance of the subject, talent for the subject, motivation in the subject, diligence in the subject, and marks at last school report; The results of the survey demonstrate the usefulness of monitoring global characteristics of school subjects. It shows interesting correspondences and differences between teaching subjects as viewed by pupils, giving us a picture that might be regarded as the social representation of a subject in the pupil population. On some subjects the pupils quite agree (approach to Czech language), while with other subjects the teacher must anticipate very varied attitudes - arts and crafts, music lessons and physics. In some subjects the pupils generally believe in their talents, while in other subjects they are not confident. The survey results could serve as both criterion and correctives for planned changes in both the conception and didactics of individual school subjects and as an important basis for auto-diagnostic work on the part of teachers, their own thinking about their performance and thus their possibilities for improving their professional competence.