Method-approach interaction:the effects of learning cycle vs traditional and contextual vs non-contextual instruction on 11th grade students’ achievement in and attitudes towards physics

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2012

Thesis Language: English

Student: Haki Peşman



The main purpose of the study was to explore how learning cycle and traditional method as teaching methods contribute to the effect of contextual approach on 11th grade students’ achievement in “impulse and momentum”, and attitude towards physics. Therefore, a distinction between teaching approach (contextual vs. non-contextual) and teaching method (learning cycle vs. traditional method) was made and they were used as independent variables. Students’ gender was also used as an independent variable. Thus, the study was a 2x2x2 factorial design. The sample, drawn through the purposive sampling, included 226 students. Pretests and posttests were used for assessing students’ achievement in impulse and momentum, and attitude towards physics. Using Multivariate Analysis of Covariance (MANCOVA), the main effects of contextual approach, learning cycle, and student gender as well as the interaction effects among them were investigated. Consequently, (1) contextual approach was more effective in supporting students’ conceptual understanding of impulse and momentum, (2) learning cycle was as effective as the traditional method, (3) gender related difference in attitude towards physics in favor of males could not be removed through the treatments, (4) contextual approach worked better with the traditional method than the learning cycle for achievement and attitude, (5) males benefitted a little more from learning cycle while females benefitted a little more from traditional method in terms of conceptual and non-conceptual scores.