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Models in chemistry education: A study of teaching and learning acids and bases in Swedish upper secondary schools
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science.
2007 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

This thesis reports an investigation of how acid-base models are taught and understood in Swedish upper secondary school. The definition of the concepts of acids and bases has evolved from a phenomenological level to an abstract (particle) level. Several models of acids and bases are introduced in Swedish secondary school. Among them an ancient model, the Arrhenius model and the Brønsted model. The aim of this study was to determine how teachers handle these models in their teaching. Further, to investigate Swedish upper secondary students’ ideas about the role of chemistry models, in general, and more specific, of models of acids and bases. The study consisted of two parts. First, a study was performed to get an overview of how acids and bases are taught and understood in Swedish upper secondary schools. It consisted of three steps: (i) the most widely used chemistry textbooks for upper secondary school in Sweden were analysed, (ii) six chemistry teachers were interviewed, and, (iii) finally also seven upper secondary school students were interviewed. The results from this study were used in the second part which consisted of two steps: (i) nine chemistry teachers were interviewed regarding their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of teaching acids and bases, and (ii) a questionnaire was administered among chemistry teachers of 441 upper secondary schools in Sweden. The results from the interviews show that only a few teachers chose to emphasise the different models of acids and bases. Most of the teachers thought it was sufficient to distinguish clearly between the phenomenological level and the particle level. In the analysis of the questionnaire three subgroups of teachers were identified. Swedish upper secondary chemistry teachers, on the whole, had a strong belief in the Brønsted model of acids and bases. However, in subgroup one (47 %) teachers’ knowledge of how the Brønsted model differs from older models was limited and diverse. Teachers in subgroup two (38 %) and three (15 %) seemed to understand the differences between the Brønsted model and older models, but teachers in subgroup 2 did not explain the history of the development of acids and bases in their teaching. Instead they (as teachers in subgroup one) relied more on the content in the textbooks than teachers in the third subgroup. Implications for textbook writers, teaching, and further research are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Fakulteten för teknik- och naturvetenskap , 2007.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2007:13
Keywords [en]
Chemistry Education
National Category
Other Basic Medicine
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-783ISBN: 978-91-7063-116-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-783DiVA, id: diva2:6511
Public defence
2007-05-11, Ericssonsalen, 9C 204, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 10:15
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2007-04-20 Created: 2007-04-20 Last updated: 2018-01-11
List of papers
1. Textbooks’ and teachers’ understanding of acid-base models used in chemistry teaching
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Textbooks’ and teachers’ understanding of acid-base models used in chemistry teaching
2005 (English)In: Chemistry education, ISSN 1109-4028, E-ISSN 1109-4028, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 19-39Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Royal Society of Chemistry, 2005
National Category
Chemical Sciences Didactics Learning
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2108 (URN)10.1039/B4RP90002B (DOI)
Available from: 2007-04-20 Created: 2007-04-20 Last updated: 2018-07-17Bibliographically approved
2. Upper secondary school students’ understanding of models used in chemistry to define acids and bases
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Upper secondary school students’ understanding of models used in chemistry to define acids and bases
2005 (English)In: Science Education International, ISSN 2077-2327, Vol. 16, no 1, p. 39-54Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2109 (URN)
Available from: 2007-04-20 Created: 2007-04-20 Last updated: 2010-06-03Bibliographically approved
3. Experienced teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of teaching acid-base chemistry
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Experienced teachers' pedagogical content knowledge of teaching acid-base chemistry
2008 (English)In: Research in science education, ISSN 0157-244X, E-ISSN 1573-1898, Vol. 38, no 5, p. 611-631Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We investigated the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of nine experienced chemistry teachers. The teachers took part in a teacher training course on students’ difficulties and the use of models in teaching acid–base chemistry, electrochemistry, and redox reactions. Two years after the course, the teachers were interviewed about their PCK of (1) students’ difficulties in understanding acid–base chemistry and (2) models of acids and bases in their teaching practice. In the interviews, the teachers were asked to comment on authentic student responses collected in a previous study that included student interviews about their understanding of acids and bases. Further, the teachers drew story-lines representing their level of satisfaction with their acid–base teaching. The results show that, although all teachers recognised some of the students’ difficulties as confusion between models, only a few chose to emphasise the different models of acids and bases. Most of the teachers thought it was sufficient to distinguish clearly between the phenomenological level and the particle level. The ways the teachers reflected on their teaching, in order to improve it, also differed. Some teachers reflected more on students’ difficulties; others were more concerned about their own performance. Implications for chemistry (teacher) education are discussed.

National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2110 (URN)10.1007/s11165-007-9066-5 (DOI)
Available from: 2007-04-20 Created: 2007-04-20 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
4. Teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about the teaching of acids and bases in Swedish upper secondary schools
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Teachers’ knowledge and beliefs about the teaching of acids and bases in Swedish upper secondary schools
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Physical Chemistry
Research subject
Physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-2111 (URN)
Available from: 2007-04-20 Created: 2007-04-20 Last updated: 2011-11-10Bibliographically approved

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