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Developing science teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge - systematically reflections of teaching practice during a Learning Study combined with Content Representations
(SMEER)
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences. (SMEER)
(English)Article in journal (Refereed) Submitted
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48500OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-48500DiVA: diva2:1093418
Available from: 2017-05-05 Created: 2017-05-05 Last updated: 2017-06-22
In thesis
1. Teaching and learning of chemical bonding models: Aspects of textbooks, students’ understanding and teachers’ professional knowledge
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teaching and learning of chemical bonding models: Aspects of textbooks, students’ understanding and teachers’ professional knowledge
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Despite the growing importance of science and technology in society, school students consider these subjects irrelevant and hard to learn. Teachers must therefore know how to teach science in ways that enhance students’ understanding and interest. This thesis explores various aspects of the teaching and learning of chemical bonding, an important topic in school chemistry that is primarily taught using models. Research has shown that students find chemical bonding difficult to understand, and that the use of models in science education contributes to this difficulty. I therefore investigated teachers’ knowledge of how to teach chemical bonding and ways of developing it to improve students’ understanding. To this end, I analysed chemistry textbooks and teachers’ lesson plans, and conducted semi-structured interviews with teachers about their teaching of chemical bonding. This revealed that the representations of chemical bonding used in textbooks and by teachers can cause students difficulties. The teachers were generally unaware of how these representations might affect students’ understanding, implying that their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) could be improved. To explore ways of incorporating research findings into teaching practice and developing teachers’ PCK, I conducted a learning study in which three secondary science teachers together explored and reflected on their own teaching practice. CoRe, a method for creating detailed descriptions of what, how, and why specific content is taught, was used to enhance the reflections and make the teachers’ PCK explicit. As a result, the teachers developed their representations of chemical bonding, became more aware of students’ understanding, and were better able to motivate their actions and choices of content and strategies.

This thesis shows how professional development can bridge the gap between research and teaching practice, and how teachers’ PCK can be developed to improve students’ understanding.

Abstract [en]

Many complex real-world phenomena can only be understood using models that make the abstract visible and provide explanations, predictions, descriptions, or simplifications. However, research has shown that students have difficulties understanding models used in science education in general, and particularly chemical bonding models.

This thesis examines various aspects of the teaching and learning of chemical bonding, and its presentation in textbooks and by teachers. It is shown that the representations used by teachers and in textbooks can cause students to have difficulties in understanding, which teachers were generally unaware of. Teachers rarely justify their choices specifically to overcome students’ difficulties, suggesting that their knowledge of how to teach chemical bonding could be improved.

A learning study in which teachers collaboratively explored and reflected on their own teaching practice significantly improved their presentation of chemical bonding, their awareness of students’ understanding, and their ability to justify their choices.

Overall, this work shows that there is a gap between research and teaching practice, and that effective ways of incorporating research results into teaching practice are needed to improve teaching and learning in chemistry.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstads universitet, 2017. 122 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2017:23
Keyword
Chemical bonding models, Pedagogical content knowledge, Teachers' professional development, Chemistry education, Students' learning
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-48502 (URN)978-91-7063-786-5 (ISBN)978-91-7063-787-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-16, 9C 204, Rejmersalen, Universitetsgatan 2, 651 88 Karlstad, Karlstad, 10:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-23 Created: 2017-05-05 Last updated: 2017-05-23Bibliographically approved

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