The influence of classroom environment on students’ motivation and self-regulation
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Students‟ motivational beliefs and self-regulatory practices have been identified as instrumental in influencing the engagement of students in the learning process. An important aim of science education is to empower students by nurturing the belief that they can succeed in science learning and to cultivate the adaptive learning strategies required to help to bring about that success. The lack of research on the influence of the learning environment on students‟ motivation and self-regulation provided the impetus for this research. The primary aim of this study was to investigate and identify salient psychosocial features of the classroom environment that influence students‟ motivation and self-regulation in science learning.The first imperative was the development and validation of an instrument to measure salient factors related to the motivation and self-regulation of students in lower secondary science classrooms. The development of the instrument involved identifying key determinants of students‟ motivation and self-regulation based on sound theoretical and research underpinnings. Once the instrument was developed, a pilot study involving 52 students from two grade 8 science classes was undertaken in addition to in-depth qualitative information gathered from 10 experienced science teachers and 12 grade 8 students. Quantitative data were collected from 1,360 students across grades 8, 9 and 10 in five public schools in Perth, Western Australia. Analyses of the data suggest that the survey has strong content, face, convergent, discriminant, concurrent and predictive validity when used with lower secondary students. Quantitative data, gathered from the same sample, established the convergent, discriminant, concurrent and predictive validity of the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) learning enviromnment instrument when used in lower secondary science classes.Partial Least Square (PLS) based Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis of the data found that students‟ perceptions of investigation, task orientation and student cohesiveness were key determinants of students‟ motivation and self-regulation in science learning. The extent to which students‟ perceive the teacher to be supportive was strongly associated with their learning goal orientation and task value, whilst student involvement was a strong predictor of self-efficacy in science learning. The findings indicated that all three motivational constructs (learning goal orientation, task value and self-efficacy) were strong predictors of students‟ self-regulation in science learning. The most influential motivational belief on boys‟ and girls‟ self-regulation is self-efficacy followed by learning goal orientation. Although for boys the influence of task value was significant, for girls this construct appeared to have a limited impact on their self-regulation in science learning.The present study made distinctive contributions to the field of learning environment as well as to science education as it was the first study in within the field of learning environment research to examine the influence of psychosocial learning environment on both student motivation and self-regulation in the area of science learning. The methodological contribution is the use of a comprehensive and rigorous construct validity framework to develop and validate an instrument to measure students‟ motivation and self-regulation in science learning. The use of the PLS based SEM data analyses in the examination of the research model provided renewed rigor and depth to the interpretation of results. The practical implications presented possible opportunities for educators to plan, and to put into practice, effective pedagogical strategies aimed at increasing students‟ motivation and self-regulation in science learning. The results from the moderating role of gender could be utilised to design targeted intervention programmes that may differ in terms of orientation for girls and boys. The newly-developed survey could be practically valuable as an expedient tool for gathering information that may guide classroom teachers in refocusing their teaching practices and help to evaluate the effectiveness of intervention programmes. Although the focus of this research is on science learning, the findings probably could help educators to understand and improve student motivation and self-regulation in other subject areas.
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Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Students' Motivation and Self-Regulation in Science LearningVelayutham, Sunitadevi; Aldridge, Jill; Fraser, Barry (2011)Students’ motivational beliefs and self‐regulatory practices have been identified as instrumental in influencing the engagement of students in the learning process. An important aim of science education is to empower ...
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