Dr. Peter Attafuah (PhD)
Education Director, Bono Region | Ghana Education Service
The purpose of this study was to investigate junior secondary school pupils’ perceptions as well as their respective science teachers’ perception about their science classroom learning environment and determine whether these variables affect teaching and learning. Few studies have been conducted in this area in countries elsewhere and it has been found that there is a definite disparity between what pupils perceive to be effective teaching and learning in comparison to what teachers perceive. The intention of the study was to identify some of the factors that militated against effective teaching and learning of science in junior secondary schools and also find out some factors that promoted it. The hypothesis for the study was “There will be no significant difference between pupils’ perceptions about science classroom learning environment and their respective science teachers’ perceptions”. The research design for the study was the survey method. The sample for the study consisted of 18 JSS3 classes selected at random from the Birim South district directorate of education in the eastern region of Ghana. The participants were made of 452 final year JSS pupils and their 10 respective science teachers (n = 462). The survey was conducted using a modified form of the 48–item short form of the Australian version of the Questionnaire on Teacher Interactions (QTI) developed by Wubbels (1993). Random interviews were conducted with an interview protocol carved out of the QTI using 6 pupils and 6 teachers who were also selected from the 462 participants. Permission was sought from the Birim South District Director of Education and invitation letters sent to the heads and science teachers of the participating schools. The researcher read through the QTI and the interview protocol explaining items for the respondents to make their own choices. Responses to the interview protocol for the pupils were recorded verbatim. Data collected from the teachers and pupils who participated in the survey were statistically analysed. The analysis was done according to the scales identified in the QTI as leadership, helpful/friendly, understanding, student responsibility and freedom, uncertain and dissatisfied, admonition and strict behaviours. The use of both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods from a range of sources provided a means of triangulation to strengthen the validity of the findings, which thus afforded a means of comparing data consistency and cross validation for the purpose of improving the rigour of the research design. Results from the study indicated that the pupils’ perception of their science classroom learning environment is moderately positive due to the slightly lower or higher scores of the scales as compared to those of their corresponding teachers. Teachers however perceived it more positive than their pupils. Scales which enhance learning (leadership, understanding, student responsibility/freedom, and helping/friendly) were scored higher by the teachers than their pupils. Other scales (uncertain, admonishing, dissatisfied and strict behaviours of the teacher) were conversely scored lower by the teachers than their respective pupils. The study also revealed that there were associations between the different dimensions in the two variables; classroom learning environment and teacher interpersonal behaviour. Factors which militated against effective science classroom learning environment at the junior secondary schools and those factors which enhanced it were discussed.
Keywords: Pupils Perceptions, and Teachers Perceptions, Science Classroom Learning Environments