The Effectiveness of Constructivist Teaching on Improving Learning Environments in Thai Secondary School Science Classrooms
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This study describes the first study conducted in Thailand that resulted in changes in science teachers' classroom environments. The aim of this study was to assess the effectiveness of constructivist teaching on improving learning environments in Thai secondary school science classrooms. The study involved three phases. First, the Constructivist Learning Environment Survey (CLES), an instrument for assessing students' perceptions of the actual and preferred classroom environment through the constructivist perspective, was validated for use in Thailand. Second, typical Thai secondary school science classrooms were described using quantitative and qualitative methods. Finally, the effectiveness of constructivist teaching on promoting improvement in classroom environments was evaluated through an action research process, involving the use of feedback on actual and preferred classroom environments. The sample consisted of seven secondary school science teachers and their 17 classes of 606 students in Nakornsawan Province, Thailand. Student Actual and Preferred Forms of the CLES, assessing Personal Relevance, Uncertainty, Critical Voice, Shared Control and Student Negotiation, were administered. Factor analysis and internal consistency reliability measures supported a five-factor structure for both actual and preferred forms. Students' attitudes to science were also measured. The actual and preferred environments of different classes were described based on profiles of classroom environment scores.The results suggested that the average classroom in this study had relatively high levels of student perceived actual Uncertainty, Student Negotiation, and Personal Relevance, but the levels of Shared Control and Critical Voice were consistently lower. On all five scales, students preferred a more favourable classroom environment than what they perceived as being actually present. Three teachers, selected from the original sample, then participated in an attempt to improve their classroom environments through the use of a constructivist teaching approach. Changes in classrooms did occur, thus supporting the effectiveness of constructivist teaching in improving classroom learning environments and students' attitudes towards science in Thailand.
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