|M.Sc Thesis||Department of Education in Science and Technology|
|Supervisor:||Prof. Emeritus Lazarowitz Reuven|
In this research, the instruction methods of 9th grade level Biology and the students' perception of their learning environment were investigated. In addition, students' perception of the learning environment was compared with regard to the following independent variables: between male and female within the same class; among students from different classes; among students with high, medium and low academic achievements within the same class.
Three schools participated in this research, two schools in the Arab sector and one school in the Jewish sector - two classes in each school (N=171). Quantitative and qualitative methods were used in this research. The results of a learning environment inventory questionnaire (LEI) indicated no significant differences between males and females or among students with different academic achievements. Significant differences were found among students from different classes on four sub-scales: satisfaction, clarity, laboratory activities and class participation.
The observations that were performed in each class with the purpose of determining the most common instructional method used in Biology lessons, indicated that teachers used direct instruction. In most cases, the instruction type was one-way: the teacher gave a lecture and pupils were passive and didn't participate, or a two-way instruction manner, when the teacher proposed questions to the students, and hence a discussion took place in class.
In classes where a high frequency of two-way instruction occurred and where students participated more, students had a more positive perception of the classroom learning environment. Interviews with the students indicated that their perception of the learning environment depended on the teacher. Teachers who showed more flexibility, enabled student participation in class, encouraged them to ask questions, directed an interesting discussion, were less aggressive, were less strict in class and in the laboratory, and mediated between the subjects taught in class and the experiments performed in the laboratory, these teachers encouraged a better perception of the learning environment.