Learning Environments Research

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 1–20 | Cite as

Field-study science classrooms as positive and enjoyable learning environments

  • Julien M. Zaragoza
  • Barry J. Fraser
Original Paper


We investigated differences between field-study classrooms and traditional science classrooms in terms of the learning environment and students’ attitudes to science, as well as the differential effectiveness of field-study classrooms for students differing in sex and English proficiency. A modified version of selected scales from the What Is Happening In this Class? questionnaire was used to assess the learning environment, whereas students’ attitudes were assessed with a shortened version of a scale from the Test of Science Related Attitudes. A sample of 765 grade 5 students from 17 schools responded to the learning environment and attitude scales in terms of both their traditional science classrooms and classrooms at a field-study centre in Florida. Large effect sizes supported the effectiveness of the field-studies classroom in terms of both the learning environment and student attitudes. Relative to the home school science class, the field-study class was considerably more effective for students with limited English proficiency than for native English speakers.


Attitudes Informal science education Learning environments Limited English proficient students What Is Happening In this Class? (WIHIC) 


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Curtin UniversityPerthAustralia

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