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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A comparison of two methods in the teaching of physics Reekie, John David


The purpose of this study was to compare two methods of teaching science. The two methods were a self-paced method which used learning activity packages stated in behavioral objectives and a teacher-paced, teacher-directed method in which the students were not given the objectives. This investigation was undertaken because the effectiveness of the self-paced method had been questioned in the school situation where it was being applied. The existing situation at the initiation of this study at Frank Hurt Secondary in Surrey, British Columbia, provided the setting for a natural experiment. The experimental phase of this study took place over the first two trimesters of the school year. The subjects were students in four science eight classes. Two classes were taught by each of the two teachers, with one class, for each teacher, randomly assigned to each method. The effectiveness of the teaching methods was determined by comparing the mean scores of the five dependent variables: acquisition and retention of science knowledge, understanding of science processes, and student's attitudes to experimenting and independent investigations. The data were analyzed using a two by two by two (method-by-teacher-by-gender) fixed effects factorial design. The results of the analyses indicated that the self-paced method was as effective as the teacher-paced method as measured on four of the dependent variables and was superior to the teacher-paced method for teaching and understanding of science processes. A significant interaction effect between the teaching method and the gender of the student showed that males scored much higher on the Test of Science Processes when taught by the self-paced method. Contrary to what was expected the gender of the student was found to have no effect on student achievement or attitudes to science. Significant interaction effects between teacher and teaching method for the two attitude scales indicated that the effectiveness that a teaching method had on student attitudes depended on the teacher using the teaching method. Recommendations for further research were proposed. Finally, the epilogue brings the reader up to date on the use of the self-paced method of teaching at Frank Hurt Secondary.

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