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Upper Secondary Teachers’ Knowledge for Teaching Chemical Bonding Models
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
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
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
Didactics
Research subject
Didactic Science for Teachers and Teaching Professions
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-123452DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2015.1125034ISI: 000372095200007OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-123452DiVA: diva2:874236
Available from: 2015-11-26 Created: 2015-11-26 Last updated: 2016-04-14Bibliographically approved

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Chang Rundgren, Shu-Nu
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