טכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל
הטכניון מכון טכנולוגי לישראל - בית הספר ללימודי מוסמכים  
Ph.D Thesis
Ph.D StudentAbed Abir
SubjectBilingual Learning Culture in a Computerized Chemistry
Laboratory Environment and Its Effect on
Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills
DepartmentDepartment of Education in Science and Technology
Supervisor Professor Yehudit Dori
Full Thesis text - in Hebrew Full thesis text - Hebrew Version


Abstract

The case-based computerized laboratories (CCL) learning environment has two components: case-based learning and computerized inquiry-based learning. Integrating CCL in the Arab sector in Israel creates difficulty which is associated with reading comprehension in Hebrew - a second language (SL) for them. A partial SL immersion model via gradual translation into Arabic is proposed as a new teaching method. While Arabic continued to be the language for social interaction among students, as time went by, the use of Hebrew for interaction between the teacher and the students during class increased to about half of the class time. Difficult concepts and activities were fully explained using both Arabic and Hebrew by the teacher, who switched freely between the two languages.

This research followed the teaching and learning processes of the CCL module in a bilingual setting - BCCL and unilingual setting - UCCL. The goals of the research were examining the effect of the CCL module in the bilingual setting on (a) chemistry Arab students ' perceptions towards CCL module in bilingual setting, and (b) developing their higher order thinking skills, such as question posing, inquiry, and reasoning skills. Participants included about 480 12th grade honors chemistry students. Research tools included pre and post case-based questionnaires and BCCL students' perceptions questionnaires. Analyzing students' perceptions towards BL and CCL environment, we found that they were in favor of the bilingual education and the combined characteristics of the CCL environment were cited as the most influential factors both in pre- and post- questionnaires. BCCL students improved their question posing, inquiry, and reasoning skills. BCCL students achieved significantly higher total net gain and inquiry net gain than three comparison groups: UCCL, inquiry-based and analytic laboratories' students.

The integration of case-studies, computerized hands-on experiments, and bilingual teaching and learning is unique to this research. Investigating learning processes which occur as students are involved in the BCCL vs. UCCL environment contributes to the body of knowledge related to learning science in SL. In the theoretical aspect, our research has shown that SL immersion via gradual translation of scientific learning materials from Arabic to Hebrew is effective in promoting students understanding and attenuating their resistance to the introduction of learning materials written only in Hebrew.

There is a practical contribution to the Israeli Arabic science education community by exposing Arab students who are chemistry majors to learning environments that may assist them in their smooth integration into higher education in Israel.