An assessment of the chemistry laboratory learning environments and teacher student interactions at the higher secondary level

Adit Gupta, Anita Sharma

Abstract


Chemistry laboratories provide students with a chance to test their ideas and learn difficult concepts by performing experiments. The study assesses students’ perceptions of their learning environments and their teacher-student interactions in a chemistry laboratory setting at the higher secondary level in selected private schools using the Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI) and Questionnaire on Teacher Interaction (QTI). The sample consists of 250 students studying in classes 11th and 12th. The learning environments in the chemistry laboratory at the higher secondary level show that the mean scores of the preferred form of the SLEI are higher than the actual form. This means that the students’ preferred learning environments that are more open ended in terms of decision making on the part of the students, seek better material support to perform the laboratory experiments in terms of equipment, chemicals and more cohesiveness with one another in terms of providing support for each other etc. The results on the QTI show that the students see their teachers as good leaders most of the time and have also rated their teachers in terms of exhibiting helpful and friendly nature, understanding and giving students freedom and responsibility in the chemistry laboratory. No significant gender differences have been reported in the chemistry laboratory learning environments however, significant gender differences were found to exist in students’ perceptions of their teacher interpersonal behavior in chemistry laboratory settings.

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