Classroom environment and teachers' cultural background in secondary science classes in an Asian context

Year: 2001

Author: Khine, Myint Swe, Fisher, Darrell L.

Type of paper: Refereed paper

The purpose of this study was to investigate associations between students’ perceptions of science classrooms learning environment, their attitudinal outcomes and the cultural backgrounds of their teachers. A sample of 1,188 students from 54 science classes in ten secondary schools in Brunei completed the What Is Happening in This Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire. Responses to two scales of the Test of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA) were used as attitudinal measures. Statistical analysis supported the reliability of the instruments when used in this context. Associations between students’ perceptions of classroom environment as assessed by the WIHIC and cultural background of teachers were also investigated. Significant associations were found between most of the scales and teachers’ cultural background. The results showed that students perceived a more favourable learning environment in the classrooms of the Western teachers. Students perceived that the science classrooms of Western teachers were more cohesive, they received more teacher support and they were more involved in the work of the class. Students also perceived that in the science classes of Western teachers, there was more task orientation, cooperation among students and equity. The study also found that students in the classrooms of Western teachers enjoyed their science lessons more than those students in the other classes.