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Teaching Chemistry with a New Cooperative Model in the Classroom

Antonio Jesús Torres Gil

Colegio Santo Tomás de Villanueva. CECE.
Granada (Spain)

ajtorresgil@agustinosgranada.es

Abstract

In the last few years, there has been a decrease in the number of Science students as well as in students´ interest in Chemistry and Physics. As a result, teachers have started to use different methodological strategies in the classroom aimed at improving academic results and students´ motivation. Two of the most well-known approaches are “contextualized Science” and cooperative learning. This paper offers a brief review of the afore-mentioned approaches and of those projects related to such approaches that have been developed in Spain and the new mass media techniques used.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.10.13

Posted by L. Madrid (Spain)

Message: It is an interesting paper about chemistry teaching. The paper shows possible solutions for everyday problems teachers face in the Sciences classroom, and offers an interesting description of teaching techniques in Science. In it the author proposes new teaching approaches like cooperative learning and contextual science. These approaches show that teachers´ interest in bringing Science closer to students and searching for new approaches is increasing. These facts make Science close and appealing for students and improve their motivation. But I agree with the author in the importance of teachers’ role in the classroom, this role is essential to get students involved or interested in Science. Enthusiasm, human quality, social abilities and the creation of a good atmosphere in the classroom are essential elements in Chemistry and Science Education. The role of teachers in education is essential for students´ motivation. I consider this paper relevant for my teaching practice because it contains useful reflections for my everyday work.

Date: 2014.04.03

Posted by Dušan Špirko (Slovakia)

Message: This publication is relevant to the work of the Chemistry is All Around Us Network Project because shows two approaches that may make a difference to teach Chemistry and were developed in Spain:
- teaching Chemistry in context - making the topics relevant by linking them to the students' real-life experiences may make a difference. the author points out the lack of support materials (textbooks, etc.) to underpin this approach.
- co-operative learning, which appears to be similar to inquiry-based or problem-based learning, Cooperative work, which is considered as an essential tool for a constructivist orientation of Sciences learning and it is a well-established learning approach among pedagogical renovation movements. Enthusiasm, human quality, social abilities and the creation of a favourable atmosphere in the classroom will probably continue to be essential elements to achieve students´ motivation in the future.Publication shows the importance of ICTs in teaching chemistry as well as cooperation of students and importance of human quality of teachers and fact that teachers are able to mix methods in facing different educationaland instructional situations. Very important part of this paper is the conclusion that 'we must bear in mind that the role of teachers remains essential to get students involved or interested in Science.

Date: 2014.04.01

Posted by Giorgio Matricardi (Italy)

Message: The publication offers a brief review of the didactic approaches “Contextualized Science” and “Cooperative Learning”, two of the most well known and widely used methodologies in the scientific education. The projects developed in Spain and referring to these methodologies are discussed with particular attention to the use of ICT in the teaching of science, particularly of chemistry.
The ever increasing involvement of ICT in the context of education further increases the interest of teachers towards those teaching methods that can help to solve the problems that cause the loss of student interest with regard of the sciences.
Following the gradual inclusion of the everiday life and experiences both in reference texts and in educational research, the author stresses the importance of the use of examples of everyday life as an element of motivation for the students and also as a framework for the theory. The experiments carried out since the 1980s and the subsequent adjustments, help the teacher to give importance to the objective of contextualization in the teaching of chemistry and to broaden the range of learning activities that will use for the teaching of physics and chemistry, suggesting that set them on the basis of rigor that will provide support students in their university studies. The use of ICTs emphasizes the role of contextualizatioon in science education: the resources available on the web are often the result of the work of groups of teachers and enable a constant exchange of information and experiences among teachers. They will also provide a useful guide for self-training.
The main features of cooperative work highlighted by the publication also help the teacher to focus attention on the importance assumed by the study of problematic situations, the formulation of hypotheses, their testing and the discussion of the results obtained, in the science domain. On one hand, the author shows how, in this context, it becomes easier to bring class work close to that of the researcher, increasing student interest and achieving significant learning, on the other hand, warns about the importance of a careful design of the working plan and a precise definition of the role of the teacher in group work. An appropriate training on the methodological bases of cooperative learning is therefore essential for teachers. ICTs show to be a valuable support for the activities of cooperative learning: platforms, social networks and other resources offer new educational spaces that prove to be very familiar for students

Date: 2014.04.01

Posted by Nazmiye BAŞER (Turkey)

Message: In this paper, teachers and students of science more scientific information they complained of being content with an emphasis on new approaches have been developed . Reduction of its interest in the students' scientific grounds contextualized science in order to increase motivation and cooperative learning strategies have been proposed to be used . Contextual science students by building relationships between present and future will create daily life . In this sense, the learning process in the classroom will be increasingly scientific approach to school methods . This is a continuous exchange of information and experience among teachers and provide a useful guide for new teachers in order to set ICT 's focused on the development . Finally, in the class of cooperative learning approach to science can lead to increased interest of students and the relationship between group members can be developed. In this study, the approach of the teachers in improving themselves and in increasing students' motivation has an important place .

Date: 2014.04.01

Posted by Özlem AFACAN (Turkey)

Message: This article is connect to the work of the Chemistry is All Around Us Network Project in until now it attempts to crystallise some of the problems that led to the extraordinary of Science in general and Chemistry in especially. In this context, we can understand that teaching chemistry making the issues relevant by linking them to the students' real-life experiences may make a difference. In addition, we can see some reasons that the lack of interest of the students towards physical and chemistry sciences is pointed out This subject is so important for learning process and real life experiences of students. In this point, authors expect that ICT techniques can change the situation and "make a difference". İn this context, this article has application areas in education policy. Also this paper show that role of enthusiasm, human quality, social abilities and a favourable atmosphere in the classroom. As a conclusion this article can offer new views and new approaches for education practices of future.

Date: 2014.03.23

Posted by James Ring (Ireland)

Message: This short paper/publication is relevant to the work of the Chemistry is All Around Us Network Project in so far as it attempts to crystallise some of the issues that have led to the unpopularity of Science in general and Chemistry in particular. It reiterates much of what the network has already found: there are problems with the abstract nature of Chemistry that are off-putting for some prospective students; there are also issues with the use of ICT as a tool to help with Chemistry teaching and learning.
The author describes two approaches that may make a difference to student uptake of Chemistry:
1. Teaching Chemistry in context - making the topics relevant by linking them to the students' real-life experiences may make a difference. The work of the Salters' Project in England is referred to. However, the author points out the lack of support materials (textbooks, etc.) to underpin this approach. This puts an extra onus on the teacher to construct their own support materials.
2. Co-operative learning, which appears to be similar to inquiry-based or problem-based learning, is also proven to be a way of engaging students and making the Chemistry more relevant. Once again it requires a strong approach from the teacher.
It would have been useful to hear more about how these pedagogical approaches are being exploited in Spain.
The author also alludes to the Virtual Learning Environment as a support to provide students with information in different formats and facilitate cooperative work on the part of students who actively participate in the building of their own knowledge He mentions a project at University level, “GNOSS University 2.0” which offers the possibility of applying active learning and peer assessment to enhance teaching and learning.
I think the most important part of this paper is the conclusion that 'we must bear in mind that the role of teachers remains essential to get students involved or interested in Science. Enthusiasm, human
quality, social abilities and the creation of a favourable atmosphere in the classroom will probably
continue to be essential elements to achieve students' motivation in the future.'
Never underestimate the power of the teacher, and equally never underestimate the importance of innovative practices by the well-prepared teacher.

Date: 2014.03.21

Posted by Eva Kletečková (Czech republic)

Message: 1. Why is this publication relevant?
Paper presents the main problems in science teaching: a formal, academic and self-centered image of Science; a lack of connection with the kind of Science present in daily life and mass media; a lack of account of aspects related to Science´s nature.
2. Does the publication present critical factors, barriers and most effective solutions to overcome them?
Some methodologies and approaches focused in solving these problems are discussed in the paper: Contextual Science, which is closely related to the STS Science teaching approach and the Scientific literacy of citizenship; Cooperative work, which is considered as an essential tool for a constructivist orientation of Sciences learning and it is a well-established learning approach among pedagogical renovation movements. Author highlighted that enthusiasm, human quality, social abilities and the creation of a favourable atmosphere in the classroom will probably continue to be essential elements to achieve students´ motivation in the future.
3. Why is this publication relevant?
I find this article useful, because it shows current issues in science teaching and effective solutions to overcome barriers. The author mention the importance of ICTs in teaching chemistry as well as cooperation of students and importance of human quality of teachers.

Date: 2014.03.09

Posted by Korfios Vaggelis (Greece)

Message: In this paper, the lack of interest of the students towards physical sciences is pointed out. This comes as a result of the academic approach of science, the (often) limited connection of scientific research with everyday life and the failure to bring out this connection when it exists.
Lately, special emphasis is given to the notion of contextual science, in which a systematic effort is done in order to relate science with student’s current and future everyday life reality. The school textbooks do not show these relations and in this way, effort is (and has to be) made by the teachers in order to incorporate information from the Internet, blogs, videos, etc. into the classroom practice.
The author refers to the application of the cooperative teaching approach in class. This approach can lead to increase of students’ interest towards science, and it enhances the communicative aspects of learning via interactions between the group members. The teacher is responsible for the team organization and function as well as for the achievement of the learning goals. The authors also make reference to the use of ICT and of platforms like moodle. This practice can also be applied and at university level via “GNOSS University 2.0”

Date: 2014.03.06

Posted by Luiza Wezyk (Poland)

Message: This paper presents a brief review of the afore-mentioned approaches: contextualized science and cooperative learning, and of those projects related to such approaches that have been developed in Spain. The document starts with a little analysis of the current state of the Spanish scientific education in the context of other EU countries. The authors accurately identify reasons of the lack of interest of students in the teaching approach as a formal, academic and self-centered image of science, a lack of connection with the kind of science present in daily life and mass media and finally, a lack of account of aspects related to science´s nature. The authors hope that ICT techniques can change the situation and "make a difference". The document describes some examples of the successful implementations of the modern approaches. As conclusions, the authors point out that one of the main reasons to increase a level of realization of cooperative experiences is teachers´ interest is bringing science closer to students and searching for new approaches that can make science close and appealing for students. They also emphasize a role of enthusiasm, human quality, social abilities and a favourable atmosphere in the classroom to achieve students´ motivation in the future. The conclusions seem difficult to challenge.

Date: 2014.03.04

Posted by Davide Parmigiani (Italy)

Message: The paper presents two main approaches to teach chemistry: "Contextual science"
and "Cooperative work". The former is a form of inductive lesson to allow
pupils in "establishing relations between Science and students´ present and
future daily life". So, in this case, the indication is represented by the
connection between the chemistry and the everyday life. The latter clearly
reminds the cooperative learning and the problem-based learning approaches. In
fact, in this case, the key action "is usually based on the study of
problematic situations, the elaboration of hypothesis, their testing and
subsequent discussion of results obtained". It is important to highlight that
the authors underline "that, taking into account the complexity of many daily
life events, context may not be enough. Therefore, they suggest combining
contextual Science alongside with Scientific school methods." In my opinion, it
is crucial that teachers are able to mix methods in facing different educational
and instructional situations. Finally, the authors mention the importance of
ICTs in teaching chemistry. The issue is just simply touched, so it would be
necessary to deal with this topic more thoroughly.

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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