Science laboratory learning environments in junior secondary schools

Ping Wai KWOK

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4 Citations (Scopus)


A Chinese version of the Science Laboratory Environment Inventory (SLEI) was used to study the students’ perceptions of the actual and preferred laboratory learning environments in Hong Kong junior secondary science lessons. Valid responses of the SLEI from 1932 students of grade 7 to grade 9 indicated that an open-ended inquiry approach seldom takes place in the laboratories. Students had a strong preference for an environment which emphasizes an open-ended investigative approach in learning science. Interviews with teachers also found that teachers were willing to provide a learning environment for investigative approach, yet little or no action was taken in this respect. Factors identified for not implementing the inquiry approach include concerns about discipline problems, safety, large class size, laboratory support, management, and examination-oriented culture. There is no straightforward resolution to these concerns. It involves an increase in the amount of teaching resources, a change in management practice as well as a transformation of culture in the society. This study showed that the SLEI instrument did prove to be useful to diagnose the areas for improvement in the laboratory learning environments but some items of the instrument may need to be re-phrased to suit the development and learning experience of students in junior secondary level. Copyright © 2015 HKIEd APFSLT.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9
JournalAsia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Kwok, P. W. (2015). Science laboratory learning environments in junior secondary schools. Asia-Pacific Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, 16(1), Article 9.


  • Learning environment
  • Laboratory
  • Science
  • Junior secondary schools
  • Inquiry learning


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