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Study on teachers’ beliefs about science and their effect on classroom environment in junior high school

Chen, C.C., Taylor, P.C. and Aldridge, J.M. (1998) Study on teachers’ beliefs about science and their effect on classroom environment in junior high school. Chinese Journal of Science Education, 6 (4). pp. 383-402.


This paper reports a combined quantitative and qualitative study of the science classroom environment. It focuses on teachers’ beliefs about science and science teaching, and the effects these have on the learning environment in a science classroom. By understanding more about this relationship, it is hoped that barriers to the introduction of constructivist teaching approaches in school science can be identified and strategies for enabling teachers, curriculum developers, and policy-makers to overcome them can be proposed. Survey instruments for assessing teacher beliefs and classroom environment have been developed and validated. The “Beliefs About Science and School Science Questionnaire” (BASSSQ) was designed to assess teachers’ beliefs about the nature of science and school science. The “Constructivist Learning Environment Survey” (CLES), which was designed to assess students’ perceptions of the constructivist nature of their classroom learning environment, was adapted for use in this study. The CLES was administered to students in 50 junior high school science classes. The teachers of each of the classes responded to the BASSSQ. In this paper, we present the following statistical analyses of questionnaire data: (1) internal consistency, reliability, and discriminate validity; and (2) mean scores and standard deviations. The findings on the viability show that the BASSSQ is conceptually sound. The Cronbach alpha reliability of the CLES ranged from 0.73 to 0.93. BASSSQ data analysis suggests the teachers had views on the nature of science that occupied the middle ground of the postmodern-objectivist continuum. On the other hand, the CLES data showed that the learning environment was not often constructivist in nature. There was infrequent opportunity for students to engage in reflective discussions with other students during class. The interpretive study combined classroom observations and interviews with teachers and students. Qualitative analysis revealed the examination-driven nature of teaching. The classes were mainly teacher-centered. The teachers seemed mostly concerned with the content coverage. The students were left with little chance to experience science in their classrooms.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: The Association of Science Education Taiwan
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