This study explored relationships between students' attitudes toward science and their preferred versus actual experience of cooperative, constructivist-oriented, or direct instruction. The sample consisted of 1334 Chinese middle school students in physics and chemistry classrooms. Results showed that students report experiencing more direct instruction, very little constructivist-oriented instruction, and a moderate amount of cooperative instruction. Attitudes toward science were positively related to cooperative teaching strategies like group work in class or developing small-group projects. There was no significant effect of constructivist-oriented instruction or of direct instruction on students' attitudes. Whereas previous studies demonstrated positive impacts of constructivist teaching on student understanding of science concepts, student attitude toward school science appears to be more related to social interaction or cooperation. Lack of any statistically significant differential effect from constructivist-oriented instruction might also be related to the overall low incidence of such instruction experienced by our sample.
Fulmer, Gavin W.; Ma, Hongjia; and Liang, Ling L., "Middle school student attitudes toward science, and their relationships with instructional practices: a survey of Chinese students’ preferred versus actual instruction" (2019). Education Faculty Work. 1.
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