Lifelong Learning Programme

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Successful Experiences in Chemistry Teaching and Learning:
A Review of Some Suggestions for Good Practice

Marie Walsh

Limerick Institute of Technology
Limerick/ROI

Marie.Walsh@lit.ie

Abstract

In the context of lifelong learning of Chemistry and allied subjects, the issues with student motivation and the importance of adequate teacher education and training have been discussed previously. Motivating students and providing relevant learning experiences require a continuum of effort from teachers. Technology-enhanced learning has become a sine qua non in the modern classroom situation. Recognition of the different learning needs and styles of individuals – who can no longer be classified as ‘traditional’ learners - is important. Multicultural classrooms present linguistic challenges that go beyond the learning of the new vocabulary of Chemistry for traditional students. Internationally research groups are addressing issues with Chemistry education, and many projects have sought to narrow the gap between expectation and experience in the Chemistry classroom. It has been shown that successful experiences in Chemistry teaching and learning may arise from: understanding and managing difficulties with language; understanding and reacting to the skills levels of students; placing Chemistry in a multidisciplinary context; using modelling – both computer simulations and concrete models, employing active learning and inquiry-based strategies for teaching and learning; and, last but not least, conceding that technology used well can enhance the teaching and learning process. This paper reviews a selection of Successful Experiences and sets the scene for trialling and implementation of some of these with a cohort of first year undergraduate Chemistry students.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.04.07

Posted by Laurent Gruber (Belgium)

Message: This paper presents some successful experiences related to the solving of issues such as language understanding due to cultural differences, understanding the skills levels of students, placing chemistry in a multidisciplinary context, active learning and inquiry-based strategies, the enhancement of teaching by the use of technology. A final survey shows the efficiency of the impact of these methods on chemistry students.
It is very useful as these successful experiences can represent a benchmark for future implementation of teaching methods.
Concerning specifically the use of ICT in chemistry, the publication suggests the integration of a Moodle platform during lessons, a tool currently used by the Limerick Institute of Technology.

Date: 2014.04.06

Posted by Elif Tuğçe KARACA (Turkey)

Message: The paper gives us some brief information about what is going on in Europe according to initiatives in chemistry education. Some topics are mentioned about successful experiences and it can be said that these topics are issues in Turkey,too. Language is always a pathway in science.In Turkey students are educated with mother language,Turkish,but of course there are some other languages being used and we have challenges about this. Especially technology integration in chemistry seems important as the paper indicates. Technology takes place in chemistry all around europe and it is interesting that technology seems not important without successful teaching and experiences,teachers are at he centre of chemistry education and technology. Finally it can be said that the paper indicates that successful experiences have some base lines and these bases shoul be taken seriously by chemistry educators.

Date: 2014.04.03

Posted by Viera Lisá (Slovakia)

Message: Publication shows review of successful experiences in chemistry teaching in Ireland. This paper is fosusing on specific problems and it is a multicultural and multilingual Europe especially students with different cultural and lingual origins which are expected to be found in every school class across the EU. I think not in every because in countries Slovakia, Czech republic maybe Poland we have not to this time students from other countries. This specific situation in Ireland mabye in Greece in which some of the students do not have English as their mother language, which makes it even more difficult for the Chemist to present the science terminology.
Paper shows the problems with the unprecedented levels of cultural and linguistic diversity. The authors focus on one of them, related to outcomes of research at Durham University into effective teaching strategies to enhance understanding of subject specific language by international and non-traditional students. The author suggests a variety of approaches, to cope with the cultural and age diversity of the school class. Atomic and molecular models, word games, analogies with everyday life and development of glossaries, are suggested. Multidisciplinary approaches and active learning initiatives are also suggested. Through the everyday experiences of the students, for instance concerning the weather and climate change, the students become aware of the multidisciplinary approach of everyday problems. Paper ends with some remarks, which promise some important conclusions in the context of the final phase of the Chemistry is All Around Us Network Project.




Date: 2014.03.30

Posted by Genoveva Ilieva (Bulgaria)

Message: This publication reflects the issues and good practices in teaching chemistry to bachelor students. However, these achievements can be applied and used in teaching chemistry in secondary schools by applying the same tools - chemical experiment, multimedia products, worksheets, website and film fragments. The presented good practices are suitable for organizing the training for project development, organizing discussions and conferences. The visualization of the studied objects is seen as an important factor in achieving high quality learning in chemistry. The use of ICT in education can be seen as an attempt to improve the education system. It allows combining information from different types of text, graphics, animation, video. It can be used not only for teaching the new material by the teacher, and in summary or review, but also to help students in their self-study.
In the process of training, the competent participation of both sides is equally important. Teachers bring new knowledge they must know the topic that will be studied in depth, understand what elements of knowledge the students themselves can achieve and how to achieve it. They have to increase the active participation of the students; teachers should create situations in which the student participates willingly. Students actively participate if it is interesting for them, they see achieving important results for themselves if this is related to the satisfaction of personal needs and if they receive an objective evaluation of results. It is important for the students to continuously build knowledge and skills, form competence with respect to the maximum development of their potential. And for this purpose it is important to have access to all means of training to use them during your self-study.
The problem of quality of education in secondary schools is directly related to the preparation of teachers during their university training, and training in the workplace. The teacher should be involved in a never -ending process of improvement in the field of pure science, and especially in the field of educational technology. The teacher should know the efficient practices and techniques used by his colleagues in European countries. This is where the publication is most useful for me

Date: 2014.03.19

Posted by Iwona Krawczyk (Poland)

Message: The paper started with a little introduction to the PISA Program and The Professional Development Service for Teachers. The introduction ends with very interesting observation that electronic instruction was judged by the students to be their least effective and least enjoyable teaching method. So the most frequently used methods can be the less effective at the same time and ICT support is not a universal cure for all teaching problems. In the section 2, the paper presents results of e 21st Symposium on Chemical and Science Education, dedicated to issues of heterogenenity and cultural diversity in science education. The papers in the collection crystallise the problems with the unprecedented levels of cultural and linguistic diversity. The authors focus on one of them, related to outcomes of research at Durham University into effective teaching strategies to enhance understanding of subject specific language by international and non-traditional students. Then they discuss skills auditing problem in teaching chemistry. First, the authors mention the study about low frequency of the continuous auditing. The authors suggest that this may result in teachers placing both subject knowledge and skills demands on students. The authors developed a problem-based approach and present its implementation. It includes many interesting methods of the evaluation of skills, with the most important - available on-line The Undergraduate Skills Record. In the next section a multidisciplinary approach is discussed, then active learning initiatives and some applications of technology to enhance chemistry education are described. Interesting topics are included in the section 7, where realities are tested with some simple survey. The document ends with some remarks, which promise some important conclusions in the context of the final phase of the Chemistry is All Around Us Network Project, but I think the part should be more expanded. However, the document is very valuable for the project.

Date: 2014.03.09

Posted by Tsechpenakis Anastasios (Greece)

Message: The author has presented a fine review of successful experiences in chemistry teaching in Ireland.
A very representative description of a modern European school class is presented at the introduction of the paper. In a multicultural and multilingual Europe, students with different cultural and lingual origins are expected to be found in every school class across the EU. In Ireland, some of the students do not have English as their mother language, which makes it even more difficult for the Chemist to present the science terminology. This difficulty is also found here in Greece. Sometimes, a percentage as high as 50% of the pupils do not speak Greek fluently as they are immigrants from other countries. These linguistic challenges make it even more difficult for the scientific terminology to be explained and understood. Furthermore the lifelong training and education guidelines from the EU have brought some mature learners among the traditional students. These facts make a differentiated lesson fixed to cope with a variety of school class expectations, a vital need for the science teacher.
The author suggests a variety of approaches, to cope with the cultural and age diversity of the school class. Atomic and molecular models, word games, analogies with everyday life and development of glossaries, are suggested.
Another suggestion is the students’ skills auditing. This audit will help to evaluate and develop the chemistry skillsets. This audit was performed via a problem based approach. Students become involved with the actual development of the experiments, the evaluation of the experimental data and the calculation of the experimental errors. This hand on approach, gives the science teacher the opportunity to evaluate the actual skills of the individuals and modify his teaching methods.
Multidisciplinary approaches and active learning initiatives are also suggested. Through the everyday experiences of the students, for instance concerning the weather and climate change, the students become aware of the multidisciplinary approach of everyday problems. Workshops- Projects concerning the investigation of household products, are also suggested.
Finally the application of informational and communication technologies, to enhance chemistry education, is always desirable, especially in coordination with lab experimentation and more traditional approaches.
This thorough review of the successful Irish teaching experiences, is reminding the secondary school science teacher of the variety of “weapons”, that can be used in his effort to make a chemistry lesson, fruitful and desirable for his students. A school hour to be waited for, with impatience!

National Reports on successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry The national reports on chemistry successful experiences to promote lifelong learning for chemistry are now available on the related section of the project portal. The reports presents examples of successful experiences in the partner countries and the results of testing of ICT resources with science teachers.

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