Date: 18 Nov 2010

EFFECT OF CULTURE ON HIGH-SCHOOL STUDENTS’ QUESTION-ASKING ABILITY RESULTING FROM AN INQUIRY-ORIENTED CHEMISTRY LABORATORY

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Abstract

In order to cope with complex issues in the science–technology–environment–society context, one must develop students’ high-order learning skills, such as question-asking ability (QAA), critical thinking, evaluative thinking, decision-making, and problem-solving capabilities within science education. In this study, we are concerned with evaluating the effect of student–teacher interaction—which is regulated by culture and traditions—on the QAA in science classroom in general and, specifically in our case, in chemistry laboratory classroom. We take Arab and Jewish sectors that are according to the literature different in their culture and tradition, as a model for our investigation. Specially developed and validated tools, including a novel practical test and an adapted article followed by a questionnaire for evaluating QAA, were administered to the research student population, and the responses were analyzed quantitatively. Observations were conducted in order to better understand the quantitative results that we got. Our findings indicate that there was a difference in the QAA between the 2 sectors. According to our findings, we assume that cultures, tradition, norms, social structure, modes of living, and related factors play a significant role as far as the development of students’ QAA and apparently any intended attempt targeting the QAA paradigm shift must take into consideration the multicultural context within which it is to be implemented.