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Examining 8th grade students’ perception of learning environment of science classrooms in relation to motivational beliefs and attitudes

Arısoy, Nazmiye
The classroom has become an important focus of educational research because most learning takes place there. The purpose of this study was to examine 8th grade students perception of science classroom environment from constructivist perspective and investigate the association between students perceptions, motivational beliefs and attitudes toward science. In addition in this study the affects of gender difference on students’ constructivist learning environment, motivation and attitude toward science were investigated. The data in the present study were collected through Turkish version of Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES), Test of Science Related Attitudes (TOSRA) and Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) from 8th grade students who were in randomly selected from 15 elementary schools in Çankaya, Ankara. A total of 956 students (462 girls, 493 boys and one did not indicate gender) were participated in the study. The data obtained from participants were analyzed by using Canonical Correlation Analyses and Multivariate Analyses of Variance (MANOVA). Results of canonical correlation analyses indicated that all constructivist learning environment variables and all the motivational beliefs variables were positively related with each other. In addition the result of this analysis also showed that all constructivist learning environment variables and attitude variables were positively related with each other. The findings of MANOVA showed that gender had a significant effect on students’ constructivist learning environment (personal relevance and critical voice), their adaptive motivational beliefs (intrinsic goal orientation, task value, and control of learning beliefs), and their attitude toward science (adaptation to science attitudes, enjoyment of science lesson, leisure interest in science, and career interest in science). Results indicated that girls’ perceptions of their learning environment, their adaptive motivational beliefs and their attitude toward science were higher than boys.