, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 41-49

Assessing culturally sensitive factors in the learning environment of science classrooms

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Abstract

As schools are becoming increasingly diverse in their scope and clientele, any examination of the interaction of culturally sensitive factors of students' learning environments with learning science assumes critical importance. The purpose of this exploratory study was to develop an instrument to assess learning environment factors that are culturally sensitive, to provide initial validation information on the instrument and to examine associations between students' perceptions of their learning environments and their attitudes towards science and achievement of enquiry skills. A measure of these factors of science student's learning environment, namely the Cultural Learning Environment Questionnaire (CLEQ), was developed from past learning environment instruments and influenced by Hofstede's four dimensions of culture (Power Distance, Uncertainty Avoidance, Individualism, and Masculinity/Femininity). The reliability and discriminant validity for each scale were obtained and associations between learning environment, attitude to science and enquiry skills achievement were found.