, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 209-227

Changing the Learning Environment to Enhance Explaining and Understanding in a Year 12 Chemistry Classroom

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Abstract

Internationally there is concern in relation to the traditional learning environments evident in many science classrooms and the levels of understanding of science developed by students in such environments. Further, students have generally been found to be poor in relation to thinking in terms of models or theories and in terms of evidence to support their theories. The majority of research on classroom environments has focused on characterising the learning environment in classrooms rather than monitoring changes to a class's or an individual's perceptions to their learning environments as a consequence of interventions. This study reports an attempt to change the learning environment in a classroom and documents changes in participants' perceptions of their learning environments and the corresponding changes in a teacher's and her students' perceptions of their reasoning and understanding that such changes facilitated. A community of learners in which students and teachers began to understand the processes and the value of reasoning in terms of theories and evidence was developed as a result of the involvement of the researchers with the teacher and her class of students.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.