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Classroom Environment Impacts Student Learning - Latest Findings

Press Release Date: 
8 October 2002

NIE staff from the Instructional Science Academic Group, Assoc Prof Goh Swee Chiew and Asst Prof Khine Myint Swe, have found compelling evidence that points to the undeniable fact that the classroom environment can strongly influence student outcomes. Their study and research have resulted in a newly published book, "Studies In Educational Learning Environments - An International Perspective", which will be officially launched on Tuesday, 8 October 2002 at 3.00pm in the NIE's newly-opened LearningHub@LIBRIS.

This will be the first-of-its-kind book that is a precious resource for those keen on improving the effectiveness of schools and universities. Most of the research findings in this book attest to the importance of a conducive learning environment during the teaching and learning process. The book is most useful in guiding teachers' actions in the classroom. Having positive classroom environment is certainly a valuable goal of education.

In the words of Prof Herbert Walberg, a pioneer of learning environment research at Harvard University, USA, "The voluminous research reported in this book demonstrates that positive learning environments also lead to valuable improvements in student achievement and attitudes. This timely book will guide the next generation of research and practical applications related to learning environments."

"Studies in Educational Learning Environments - An International Perspective", published by World Scientific Publishing Co Pte Ltd, is now available at all leading bookstores and through direct on-line purchase from Barnes and Nobles (www.barnesandnoble.com) and Amazon.com (www.amazon.com).
    
Extract of the book is attached at Annexe A and the programme for the book launch is at Annexe B.

Your reporter and photographer are cordially invited to cover this event. Please meet Ms Lynn Chew at the LearningHub@LIBRIS (Block 4, Level 3), NIE at 2.45pm.

Annexe A

The Findings

There is a chapter on learning environment research in Singapore presented in Chapter 9, authored by Assoc Prof Goh Swee Chiew. It presents research done across disciplines and levels.

The main findings of the research are in primary mathematics classrooms - a pioneer study in learning environment in primary schools:

1. Student-teacher relationships and classroom climate were significantly related to students' achievement and attitude towards learning;

2. Certain teacher behaviours eg teacher leadership, being understanding, helpful and friendly are positive teacher behaviours that teachers should demonstrate liberally in class - more of such teacher behaviours will result in better/supportive classroom environment; and

3. A classroom environment is conducive when a high degree of class cohesiveness prevailed and little friction existed among students.

Similar results were replicated in other studies in Singapore's secondary classrooms eg studies done in geography, mathematics and science laboratories, though the dimensions of the classroom environment assessed may vary.

Across disciplines and levels, most of the studies worldwide revealed that the learning environment affects both the cognitive and affective developments of students. The evidence is clear - the learning or classroom environment can promote or hinder students' learning; the more conducive the environment, the better the students' achievement and attitude towards learning. A close teacher-student relationship will further enhance and maintain this conducive classroom environment.

Prof Barry Fraser, an eminent scholar in learning environment research and current external examiner of NIE's Postgraduate Diploma in Education Programme (PGDE), states that "these findings hold hope for improving student outcomes through the creation of the types of classroom environments that are empirically linked to favourable student outcomes."

 
Annexe B

Programme

2.30pm
Viewing of Book Display

3.00pm
Message from Prof Leo Tan, Director, NIE

3.15pm
About the Book, from the Authors: Assoc Prof Goh Swee Chiew and Asst Prof Khine Myint Swe, Instructional Science Academic Group, NIE

3.30pm
Tea Reception
                                                   
4.00pm
End of Programme