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Title: Improving chemistry teaching through
Contributor(s): Coll, Richard K (author); Taylor, Neil (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2000
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Abstract: Science educators talk about the classroom climate, environment, atmosphere and so forth and consider it to be influential on teaching and learning. The educational environment present in a classroom, be it at school or tertiary level is a subtle and complex mixture of such diverse factors as the nature of the physical environment, personalities, technologies and so on. Because of its influence on teaching and learning, educators have attempted to characterise the classroom-learning environment in a number of ways. The study of learning environments has been of particular interest to science education researchers (e.g., Fraser, Giddings, & McRobbie, 1992; Huffman, Lawrenz, & Minger, 1997; Orion, Hofstein, Tarnir, & Giddings, 1997), with much research focus being on the development of survey instruments for measuring a variety of learning environments. The origins of instrument development can be traced to the work of Moos (1979). In his research on human environments, Moos found that three general categories can be used in characterising diverse learning environments. This finding emerged from Moos' work in a variety of environments including hospital wards, school classrooms, prisons, military companies, university residences and work milieus. The three dimensions are: relationship dimensions which identify the nature and intensity of personal relationships within the environment and assess the extent to which people are involved in the environment and support and help each other; personal development dimensions which assess personal growth and self-enhancement; and system maintenance and system change dimensions which involve the extent to which the environment is orderly, clear in expectations, maintains control, and is responsive to change. For nearly 30 years, Moos' work has influenced the development and use of instruments to assess the qualities of the classroom-Ieaming environment from the perspective of the student (Fraser, 1998; Fraser & Walberg, 1991), and the association between learning environment variables and student outcomes has provided a particular focus for the use of these instruments. Instruments have now been developed to cover a wide variety of learning environments; elementary schools using the My Class Inventory (MCI) (Fisher & Fraser, 1981), secondary schools using the Learning Environment Inventory (LEI) (Fraser, Anderson, & Walberg, 1982), the Classroom Environment Scale (CES) (Moos & Trickett, 1974), and the Individualised Classroom Environment Questionnaire (ICEQ) (Rentoul & fraser, 1979), tertiary institutions, using the College and University Classroom Environment Inventory (CUCEI) (Fraser, Treagust, & Dennis 1986), and laboratory classes using Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI) (Fraser et aI., 1992). Other instruments focus on constructivist classroom environments (Taylor, Fraser, & Fisher, 1997), computer-assisted instruction classrooms (Teh & Fraser, 1994) and teacher interpersonal behaviour in the classroom (Wubbels & Levy, 1993; Fisher & Kent, 1997). Consequently, there is now a variety of well tested and validated survey instruments available to teachers and researchers.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Chemistry in New Zealand, 64(1), p. 16-22
Publisher: New Zealand Institute of Chemistry
Place of Publication: New Zealand
ISSN: 0110-5566
Field of Research (FOR): 130299 Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified
130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
130103 Higher Education
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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Appears in Collections:Journal Article
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