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Química Nova

Print version ISSN 0100-4042On-line version ISSN 1678-7064


FENSHAM, Peter J.. Implications, large and small, from chemical education research for the teaching of chemistry. Quím. Nova [online]. 2002, vol.25, n.2, pp.335-339. ISSN 0100-4042.

Research studies in chemical education pose a communication problem for chemists. Unlike the findings from other specializations in chemistry the findings in chemical education tend to be reported in education journals that are not readily accessible to most chemists or chemistry teachers. This lecture is an attempt to remedy this gap in communication. Research studies fall into three broad categories. (i) issues related to the content of chemistry itself, that is, What content to teach? And What meaning of each topic is to be conveyed? (ii) issues related to how chemical content is taught, such as, the role of lectures, practical work, particular pedagogies, etc. and (iii) issues related to its learning, that is, learning of concepts, conceptual change, motivation, etc. Findings in each of these categories of research over the last twenty years have drawn attention to opportunities for improving the quality of chemical education in each of the levels of formal education where chemistry is taught. Sometimes the research findings seem small since they, in fact, merely diagnose the actual problem in teaching and learning. At other times, the research findings are large because they provide a solution to these problems. What remains to be done is to disseminate the findings so that appropriate teaching occurs more widely, with its consequent gains in the quality of learning. Research findings, of these small and large types will be used to illustrate the potential of research to make the practice of chemical education more effective.

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