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Upper Secondary Teachers' Knowledge for Teaching Chemical Bonding Models
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Health, Science and Technology (starting 2013), Department of Engineering and Chemical Sciences.
Stockholm Univ, Dept Educ, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden..
2016 (English)In: International Journal of Science Education, ISSN 0950-0693, E-ISSN 1464-5289, Vol. 38, no 2, 298-318 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Resource type
Text
Abstract [en]

Researchers have shown a growing interest in science teachers' professional knowledge in recent decades. The article focuses on how chemistry teachers impart chemical bonding, one of the most important topics covered in upper secondary school chemistry courses. Chemical bonding is primarily taught using models, which are key for understanding science. However, many studies have determined that the use of models in science education can contribute to students' difficulties understanding the topic, and that students generally find chemical bonding a challenging topic. The aim of this study is to investigate teachers' knowledge of teaching chemical bonding. The study focuses on three essential components of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK): (1) the students' understanding, (2) representations, and (3) instructional strategies. We analyzed lesson plans about chemical bonding generated by 10 chemistry teachers with whom we also conducted semi-structured interviews about their teaching. Our results revealed that the teachers were generally unaware of how the representations of models they used affected student comprehension. The teachers had trouble specifying students' difficulties in understanding. Moreover, most of the instructional strategies described were generic and insufficient for promoting student understanding. Additionally, the teachers' rationale for choosing a specific representation or activity was seldom directed at addressing students' understanding. Our results indicate that both PCK components require improvement, and suggest that the two components should be connected. Implications for the professional development of pre-service and in-service teachers are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 38, no 2, 298-318 p.
Keyword [en]
Chemical bonding, Pedagogical content knowledge, Students' understanding, Chemistry education, Models
National Category
Educational Sciences Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41681DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1125034ISI: 000372095200007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-41681DiVA: diva2:919375
Available from: 2016-04-13 Created: 2016-04-13 Last updated: 2017-05-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Models of chemical bonding: Representations Used in School Textbooks and by Teachers and their Relation to Students´Difficulties in Understanding.
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Models of chemical bonding: Representations Used in School Textbooks and by Teachers and their Relation to Students´Difficulties in Understanding.
2012 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis focuses on how school textbooks and teachers present models of chemical bonding in upper secondary schools in Sweden. In science, as well as in science education, models play a central role, but research has shown that they often are difficult for students to understand. In science education, models are presented to students mainly through textbooks and teachers, and textbooks influence teachers’ teaching. The aim of this thesis was to investigate how textbooks and teachers present models of chemical bonding with respect to students’ difficulties in understanding.

To analyze representations of models, an analytical framework based on research reports of students’ difficulties in understanding related to models in general and chemical bonding in particular was developed. The chapters of chemical bonding in five chemistry textbooks were analyzed. Further, ten Chemistry teachers’ lesson plans about chemical bonding and semi-structured interviews with the teachers concerning their teaching were analyzed.

This analysis concerned teachers pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of teaching chemical bonding, with focus on knowledge of students’ difficulties in understanding and teaching strategies that take these difficulties into account. The results show that the teachers could specify examples of students’ learning difficulties, but the teaching strategies to promote the students’ understanding were limited. This indicates a deficient interaction between knowledge of difficulties in understanding and teaching strategies, two essential components of teachers’ PCK. Further, the models of chemical bonding represented in the textbooks and by the teachers might cause students’ difficulties in understanding. This indicates a gap between research of students’ difficulties in understanding and teaching practices as well as textbooks’ development. Further, the teachers’ representations of models were strongly influenced by the textbooks. Implications for textbooks’ authors, pre-service as well as in-service teachers are addressed.

 

 

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlstad: Karlstads universitet, 2012. 69 p.
Series
Karlstad University Studies, ISSN 1403-8099 ; 2012:52
Keyword
pedagogical content knowledge; chemical bonding; textbook analysis; students' learning difficulties; models in science education
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-15376 (URN)978-91-7063-463-5 (ISBN)
Presentation
2012-12-14, 9C203, Karlstads universitet, Karlstad, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

Papper 2 "Upper secondary teachers knowledge..." ingick i lic.uppsatsen som manuskript med titeln: "Swedish upper secondary teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge to teach chemical bonding". Nu publicerad. 

Available from: 2012-11-26 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2016-04-13Bibliographically approved
2. 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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