P761: Effects of student-choice and teacher-assigned partners on classroom climate

Author: Rachael S. Hall, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

Co-Author: Amy Phelps, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

Date: 8/6/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: MAK B1138

Related Symposium: S59

The affective domain of students in the laboratory is often not studied in chemical education research, despite research findings which point to the importance of classroom climate in learning outcomes. Countless individual studies and meta-analyses have found a correlation between positive aspects of the psycho-social environment in a classroom and positive learning outcomes. We were interested in how changing partners in a lab class would affect the psycho-social environment in the classroom and if there would be positive learning outcomes as a result. In one section of organic chemistry I laboratory in Fall 2013, new partners were assigned weekly during wet labs, but students were allowed to pick their partners during the three computer-based labs. During the same semester in another section, students were allowed to pick their partners and kept the same partner all semester. In the first lab session, students were given the “preferred” version of the Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI) to elicit their ideas regarding expectations for the class. During the last lab meeting, students were given the “actual” version of the SLEI and the Classroom Environment Inventory (CLI) to gather data about what actually occurred over the course of the semester. The two sections were compared based on their scores in the different components of each survey and also their grades in laboratory and lecture. The results of this study will be discussed, focusing on the affective differences between the two environments.

P48: New observational instrument for recording student interactions in a laboratory setting

Author: Rachael S. Hall, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

Co-Author: Amy Phelps, Middle Tennessee State University, USA

Date: 8/3/14

Time: 2:05 PM2:25 PM

Room: MAN 123

Related Symposium: S8

The classic collaborative environment in the teaching of chemistry is the lab. Even before cooperative learning was an area of study, students were working cooperatively in lab partnerships. There is a wealth of research on the benefits of collaborative and cooperative learning in the classroom, but there are few studies which look at the impact on the class dynamic when the members of these collaborative groups are shuffled. We wanted to determine if the students’ interactions were different if groups were assigned and changed weekly compared to the interactions when students have semester-long partners of their choosing. An observational protocol was needed which would aid in keeping track of where, when, and with whom the students were interacting and the nature of those interactions. Due to the physical setup of the lab, video and audio recording were not ideal data-collection tools. Most other observational research found in the literature focused on teacher behavior and did not provide information which was easily organized or quantified. The idea for this protocol came from the same type of spatial classroom mapping used for teacher observations but morphed into an instrument which could be used to record different types and levels of interactions and from which useful data could be extracted and organized after the fact. The development and use of this new observational tool will be discussed.