Measuring language learning environments in secondary science classrooms
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- Webster, B.J. & Hazari, A. Learning Environ Res (2009) 12: 131. doi:10.1007/s10984-009-9055-x
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The purpose of this study was to explore a new learning environment instrument which could be used by teaching practitioners and other educators to measure the language learning environment in the secondary science classroom. The science teacher is central in creating science classrooms conductive to the language needs of students and should be promoting the learning of language in the science curriculum and in the teaching strategies with English as second language learners. The data in this study were collected using a structured self-administered survey with a sample of 240 secondary school students from eight science classrooms. Factor analysis identified five dimensions, namely, Teacher Support, Vocabulary Development, Assessment, Motivation and Language for Learning Science. These five dimensions explained 56.9% of the variance in the language learning environment instrument. The internal reliability of the dimensions using Cronbach’s α ranged from 0.603 to 0.830. The study revealed significant differences in the dimensions of the language learning environment between what the students perceived to actually be occurring to what they would prefer. Implications from this preliminary research include the ability for measuring the language learning environment in the secondary science class and the potential for practitioners to use the information to develop teaching strategies conducive to learning for all students.