Learning Environments Research

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 269–288 | Cite as

Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of classroom learning environment in Bhutanese eighth-grade mathematics classes

Original Paper

Abstract

This paper reports a study of students’ and teachers’ perceptions of their classroom learning environment in Bhutanese eighth-grade mathematics classes. Research suggests that positive perceptions of the learning environment can have a positive influence on students’ learning outcomes, interest and engagement in classroom activities. The study was conducted in 2013, using the survey samples of 608 students and 98 teachers from 22 lower- and middle-secondary schools in western Bhutan. Students’ and teachers’ perceptions of the classroom environment were measured using the Mathematics Classroom Learning Environment Survey (MCLES). Students and teachers mostly perceived their classroom environments favourably on the MCLES scales irrespective of gender, school level and school location. The study is significant for understanding and evaluating the implementation of new mathematics curriculum in Bhutanese schools because it could guide the development of strategies for more-productive mathematics classroom learning. It is also significant from the perspective of Bhutan’s national goal of Gross National Happiness because perceptions and happiness always go hand-in-hand.

Keywords

Classroom learning environment Classroom practices Curriculum Mathematics classroom Mathematics education Perceptions 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to acknowledge principals, teachers and students of those 22 participating lower- and middle-secondary schools in western Bhutan for supporting us to conduct this study. This research was part of the Ph.D. study of the first author, who received a joint scholarship from the Royal Civil Commission of Bhutan and Queensland University of Technology, Australia. The authors also would like to thank all reviewers and regional editors for their comprehensive and useful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript.

References

  1. Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B. J., & Huang, I. T.-C. (1999). Investigating classroom environments in Taiwan and Australia with multiple research methods. Journal of Educational Research, 93, 48–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aldridge, J. M., Fraser, B. J., & Ntuli, S. (2009). Utilising learning environment assessments to improve teaching practices among in-service teachers undertaking a distance education programme. South African Journal of Education, 29, 147–170.Google Scholar
  3. Aldridge, J. M., Laugsch, R. C., Seopa, M. A., & Fraser, B. J. (2006). Development and validation of an instrument to monitor the implementation of outcomes-based learning environments in Science in South Africa. International Journal of Science Education, 28(1), 45–70. doi: 10.1080/09500690500239987.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Allen, D., & Fraser, B. J. (2007). Parent and student perceptions of classroom learning environment and its association with student outcomes. Learning Environments Research, 10(1), 67–82. doi: 10.1007/s10984-007-9018-z.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bellar, M., & Gafni, N. (2000). Can item fomat (multiple choice vs. open-ended) account for gender differences in mathematics achievement? Sex roles, 42(1/2), 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brown, T. A. (2006). Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. New York: Guildford Press.Google Scholar
  7. Centre for Educational Research & Development [CERD]. (2004). Student perceptions of classroom learning environment in junior high schools in Bhutan. Rabsel, 5, 68–82.Google Scholar
  8. Cetin-Dindar, A., Kirbulut, Z. D., & Boz, Y. (2014). Modelling between epistemological beliefs and constructivist learning environment. European Journal of Teacher Education, 37(4), 479–496. doi: 10.1080/02619768.2014.944614.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chandra, V., & Fisher, D. L. (2009). Students’ perceptions of a blended web-based learning environments. Learning Environments Research, 12, 31–44. doi: 10.1007/s10984-008-9051-6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Ching-Tse, D. L. (2013). Learning environments in English classrooms in Singapore. PhD thesis, Curtin University, Perth.Google Scholar
  11. Chionh, Y. H., & Fraser, B. J. (2009). Classroom environment, achievement, attitudes and self esteem in geography and mathematics in Singapore. International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 18, 29–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Creswell, J. W. (2009). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. New Delhi: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Curriculum & Profesional Support Division [CAPSD]. (2008). Understanding mathematics: Textbook for class VIII. Thimphu: Curriculum and Professional Support Division, Ministry of Education.Google Scholar
  14. den Brok, P., Fisher, D. L., Richards, T., & Bull, E. (2006). Californian science students’ perceptions of their classroom learning environments. Educational Research and Evaluation, 12, 3–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dorman, J. P. (2008). Using student perceptions to compare actual and preferred classroom environment in Queensland schools. Educational Studies, 34(4), 299–308.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Fraser, B. J. (1989). Twenty years of classroom climate work: Progress and prospect. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 21(4), 307–327. doi: 10.1080/0022027890210402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fraser, B. J. (1998). Classroom environment instruments: Development, validity and applications. Learning Environments Research, 1(1), 7–34. doi: 10.1023/a:1009932514731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Fraser, B. J. (2001). Twenty thousand hours: Editor’s introduction. Learning Environments Research, 4, 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Fraser, B. J. (2002). Learning environment research: Yesterday, today and tomorrow. In S. C. Goh & M. S. Khine (Eds.), Studies in educational learning environments: An international perspective (pp. 1–25). Singapore: World Scientific.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fraser, B. J. (2012). Classroom learning environments: Retrospect, context and prospect. In B. J. Fraser et al. (Eds.), Second intrnational handbook of science education (pp. 1191–1232). New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fraser, B. J., Aldridge, J. M., & Adolphe, F. S. G. (2010). A cross-national study of secondary science classroom environments in Australia and Indonesia. Research in Science Education, 40(4), 551–571. doi: 10.1007/s11165-009-9133-1.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fraser, B. J., Fisher, D. L., & McRobbie, C. J. (1996, April). Development, validation and use of personal and class forms of a new classroom environment instrument. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Gupta, A., & Fisher, D. L. (2012). Technology-supported learning environments in science classrooms in India. Learning Environments Research, 15, 195–216. doi: 10.1007/s10984-012-91903-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Haarala-Muhonen, A., Ruohoniemi, M., Katajavuori, N., & Lindblom-Ylanne, S. (2009). Comparison of students’ perceptions of their teaching-learning environments in three professional academic disciplines: A valuable tool for quality enhancement. Learning Environments Research. doi: 10.1007/s10984-011-9087-x.Google Scholar
  25. Howard, T., Mazintas, T., & Kanai, T. (2009). The constructivist classroom: Venue for social change. Paper presented at the Proceedings of World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia and Telecommunications, Chesapeake, VA.Google Scholar
  26. Huang, S. L. (2003). Antecedents to psychosocial environments in middle school classrooms in Taiwan. Learning Environments Research, 6, 119–135.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Huang, S. L., & Fraser, B. J. (2009). Science teachers’ perceptions of the school environment: Gender differences. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(4), 404–420. doi: 10.1002/tea.20284.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Jamtsho, S. (2001). Relationship between teacher attitudes and learners’ perceptions of classroom learning environment in Bhutanese schools. Ph.D. dissertation, University of New Brunswick, Canada.Google Scholar
  29. Koul, R. B. (2003). Teacherstudent interactions and science classroom learning environments in India. PhD thesis, Curtin University of Technology.Google Scholar
  30. Koul, R. B., & Fisher, D. L. (2005). Science classroom learning environment in India. Journal Science and Mathematics Education in S.E. Asia, 26(2), 107–130.Google Scholar
  31. LaRocque, M. (2008). Assessing perceptions of the environment in elementary classrooms: The link with achievement. Educational Psychology in Practice, 24(4), 289–305.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Litwin, M. S. (1995). How to measure survey reliability and validity (7th ed.). New Delhi: Sage Publications.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Luketic, C. D., & Dolan, E. L. (2013). Factors influencing student perceptions of high-school science laboratory environments. Learning Environment Research, 16, 37–47. doi: 10.1007/s10984-012-9107-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Majeed, A., Fraser, B. J., & Aldridge, J. M. (2002). Learning environment and its association with student satisfaction among mathematics students in Brunei Darussalam. Learning Environments Research, 5(2), 203–226. doi: 10.1023/a:1020382914724.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Matheson, S. (1998). Why triangulate? Educational researcher. Educational Researcher, 17, 13–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. McLeod, C., & Fraser, B. J. (2010). Development, validation and application of a modified Arabic translation of the What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) questionnaire. Learning Environments Research, 13, 105–125. doi: 10.1007/s10984-008-9052-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Mucherah, W. (2008). Classroom climate and students’ goal structures in high-school biology classrooms in Kenya. Learning Environments Research, 11, 63–81. doi: 10.1007/s10984-007-9036-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Murugan, A. L. R. (2013). Students’ perceptions of mathematics classroom environment and mathematics achievement: A study in Sipitang, Sabah, Malaysia. Paper presented at the International Conference on Social Science Research, Penang, Malaysia.Google Scholar
  39. Namgyel, S. (2011). Quality of education in Bhutan: Historical and theoretical understanding matters. Thimphu: DSB Publishers.Google Scholar
  40. Opolot-Okurut, C. (2010). Classroom learning environment and motivation towards mathematics among secondary school students in Uganda. Learning Environments Research, 13(3), 267–277. doi: 10.1007/s10984-010-9074-7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Peer, J., & Fraser, B. J. (2015). Sex, grade-level and stream differences in learning environment and attitudes to science in Singapore. Learning Environments Research, 18, 143–2161. doi: 10.1007/s10984-013-9142-x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Quek, C. L., Wong, A. F. L., & Fraser, B. J. (2002). Gender differences in the perceptions of chemistry laboratory classroom environments. Queensland Journal of Educational Research, 18(2), 164–182.Google Scholar
  43. Rinchen, S. (2014). A study of the emotional climate of a science education class for preservice teachers in Bhutan. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology.Google Scholar
  44. Royal University of Bhutan [RUB]. (2011). Creating a GNH learning environment (Annual Report).Google Scholar
  45. Seopa, M. A., Laughsch, R. C., Aldridge, J. M., & Fraser, B. J. (2003). Assessing students’ perceptions of outcomes-based learning environment in science classroom in South Africa. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago.Google Scholar
  46. Shadrek, M. (2012). Zimbabwean science students’ perceptions of their classroom learning environment and attitudes towards science. Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences, 3(11), 415. doi: 10.5901/mjss.2012.v3n11p415.Google Scholar
  47. Sherab, K. (2013). Strategies for encouraging behavioural and cognitive engagement of pre-service student-teachers in Bhutan: An action research case study. Educational Action Research, 21(2), 164–184. doi: 10.1080/09650792.2013.789710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. So, K. K. T., & Swatman, P. (2010). The diminishing influence of age and gender on e-learning readiness of teachers in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the ICHL’ 10 Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Hybrid Learning, Heidelberg. Retrieved from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007.
  49. Taylor, P. C., Fraser, B. J., & Fisher, D. L. (1997). Monitoring constructivist classroom learning environments. International Journal of Educational Research, 27, 297–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wang, J. R., & Lin, S. W. (2009). Evaluating elementary and secondary school science learning environments in Taiwan. International Journal of Science Education, 31(7), 853–872.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Yang, X. (2015). Rural junior secondary school students’ perceptions of classroom learning environments and their attitude and achievement in mathematics in West China. Learning Environments Research, 18(2), 249–266.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Yarrow, A., Millwater, J., & Fraser, B. J. (1997). Improving university and primary school classroom environments through pre-service teachers’ action research. International Journal of Practical Experience in Professional Education, 1(1), 68–93.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationQueensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

Personalised recommendations