ERIC Number: ED479992
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2002-Dec
Reference Count: N/A
Learning Science in a High School Learning Environment in Papua New Guinea.
Najike, Samuel; McRobbie, Campbell; Lucas, Keith
This paper reports on the classroom learning environment and teaching practices in a Papua New Guinea ninth-grade science class and the conflict between the informal, traditional learning paradigm and new school approaches to science teaching. Observations and interviews with teachers and four students were supplemented with questionnaires and test results. Findings indicate that teaching and learning strategies were basically teacher-centered and involved low-level cognitive structures, such as rote learning. There was less emphasis on meaningful learning, and the long-term retention of science concepts was not an important consideration. It became obvious toward the end of the study that this model of teaching and learning had become part of the culture of teaching and learning science at this school. In rural Papua New Guinea's informal, traditional teaching model of story telling and apprenticeship, students listened and learned by imitating what they saw over a period of time. In this study, students seemed to display those same behaviors, which contrasted with the teacher's expectations. The teacher, a recent graduate, desired, but was unable to create, a learning environment in which meaningful learning was the most desired outcome. He expected students to ask questions and be responsible for their own learning by participating actively in student-centered activities. The students were reluctant to do so and may have seen such behavior as inappropriate and disrespectful toward the teacher's authority. To improve students' learning and understanding of science, new components of cultural sensitivity should be included in the pedagogy, aimed at facilitating a bridge or "border crossing' from the students' culturally oriented views to the canonical views in science and science pedagogy. (Contains 39 references) (TD)
Descriptors: Case Studies, Classroom Environment, Cultural Influences, Culture Conflict, Foreign Countries, Grade 9, High Schools, Nonformal Education, Resistance to Change, Rural Schools, Science Instruction, Student Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship, Teaching Methods, World Views
For full text: http://www.aare.edu.au/02pap/naj02039.htm.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Papua New Guinea