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Models of chemical bonding: Representations Used in School Textbooks and by Teachers and their Relation to Students´Difficulties in Understanding.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Technology and Science, Department of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences. (SMEER)
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 [en]
pedagogical content knowledge; chemical bonding; textbook analysis; students' learning difficulties; models in science education
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-15376ISBN: 978-91-7063-463-5 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kau-15376DiVA: diva2:563484
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
List of papers
1. Representations of chemical bonding models in school textbooks: Help or hindrance for understanding?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Representations of chemical bonding models in school textbooks: Help or hindrance for understanding?
2013 (English)In: Chemistry education, ISSN 1109-4028, E-ISSN 1109-4028, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, ISSN 1109-4028, Vol. 14, 589-606 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Models play an important and central role in science as well as in science education. Chemical bonding is one of the most important topics at upper secondary school chemistry, and this topic is dominated by the use of models. In the past decade, research has shown that chemical bonding is a topic that students find difficult, and therefore, a wide range of alternative conceptions are developed by students. This study focuses on analyzing the models of chemical bonding in chemistry textbooks at upper secondary level and aims to investigate the content of chemical bonding presented in chemistry textbooks with respect to students’ learning difficulties (alternative conceptions and difficulties in understanding). Chapters concerning chemical bonding in five chemistry textbooks at upper secondary level in Sweden were analyzed. The results showed that the models of chemical bonding represented in the school textbooks might cause students’ alternative conceptions and difficulties in understanding chemical bonding, which matched the findings found by other recent studies. Implications for textbooks’ authors and teachers are addressed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
London, UK: RSC Publishing, 2013
Keyword
models in teaching; textbook analysis; chemical bonding; students’ learning difficulties; representations of models
National Category
Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-15366 (URN)10.1039/C3RP20159G (DOI)000325570900020 ()
Available from: 2012-10-30 Created: 2012-10-30 Last updated: 2017-12-07Bibliographically approved
2. Upper Secondary Teachers' Knowledge for Teaching Chemical Bonding Models
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Upper Secondary Teachers' Knowledge for Teaching Chemical Bonding Models
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.

Keyword
Chemical bonding, Pedagogical content knowledge, Students' understanding, Chemistry education, Models
National Category
Educational Sciences Chemical Sciences
Research subject
Chemistry
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-41681 (URN)10.1080/09500693.2015.1125034 (DOI)000372095200007 ()
Available from: 2016-04-13 Created: 2016-04-13 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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