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Chemistry Education in Polish Schools

Aleksandra Smejda-Krzewicka

Lodz University of Technology, Faculty of Chemistry, Institute of Polymer and Dye Technology (Poland)

aleksandra.smejda-krzewicka@p.lodz.pl

Abstract

In the paper the chemistry education in Polish schools (including lower secondary school, upper secondary school and higher education) was described. The Ordinance of the Minister of Science and Higher Education from 17 January 2012, which was also signed by the Minister of Education [2] is currently in force in Poland. In this regulation standards of training to work as a teacher have been determined. According to them one should pay attention to: the effects of education (learning outcomes) on the expertise and methodology, pedagogy and psychology, preparation for the application of technology information and foreign language proficiency, the duration of studies and postgraduate studies and the dimension and organization of training programmes for teachers. Universities provide the education to prepare for the teaching profession in college and postgraduate studies in the relevant training modules. In the chemistry education it is extremely important that the teacher could present the student with practical aspects of chemistry, while meeting the educational and tutorial purposes. The awakening of students' natural curiosity for the world is not without significance, too. Therefore the purpose of proper training and education in schools is to transfer knowledge in a clear and understandable manner, to present the importance of chemical knowledge in everyday life, to shape the attitudes of research and logical thinking and drawing conclusions from observations. Properly carried out monitoring and assessment of performance has a significant impact on the course and the final effects of the learning process. It is the continuous professional development of chemistry teachers which guarantees the highest quality of students’ learning. This is possible thanks to the numerous courses, including language courses.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome


Date: 2014.09.26

Posted by Loren Madrid (Spain)

Message: In this paper we can read the standards of training to work as a teacher, and describes the purposes of training and education in schools. The main objective is to transfer knowledge in a clear and understandable manner, to present the importance of chemical knowledge in everyday life. This paper contains valuable information about Teacher Training in Polish schools, like their organization of their training and the kind of training they must do. We can see too the objectives of training and education in lower secondary schools, upper secondary schools and how is developed their evaluation process. The most interesting section is the one that describes the future perspectives for enhancing attractiveness and effectiveness of chemistry teaching at school and the features that teachers have to get if they want be good Chemistry teachers.

Date: 2014.09.26

Posted by Antonio J. Torres (Spain)

Message: This paper describes the training of teachers and the Chemisty Eductation System in Poland. In this country the teachers have a main purpose in their work: their students have to learn Chemistry meaningfully and use their knowledge in everyday life. We can find the training programmes in the paper and the objectives of training and education in lower secondary schools. This document offers an interesting description of teachers training and the requisites which good Chemistry teachers should have. and from my point of view, this paper is interesting and relevant and it has enriched my view of the teaching of Sciences and show us future perspectives for enhancing attractiveness and effectiveness of chemistry teaching at school.

Date: 2013.11.25

Posted by Nurcan ERTUĞRUL (Turkey)

Message: The text starts with the up-to-date educational regulations. we are able to show the current situation of training of Science and Chemistry in Poland and we can see that the significance of the chemistry science is mainly dealt with the Daily life. It can be beneficial for explaining many situations which every kind of person can come across. To reach this goal, teachers must have functional abilities to provide their students with more confident and enthusiasm. Furthermore, teachers had better utilize the children’s’ own wonder so that it will make chemistry science more attractive .In addition, Using some technological devices which can include computers, tablets and smart boards makes learning chemistry both more attractive and more impressive. It is about what sort of abilities a teacher must have and they should know how they can use such technological devices. The eccentric one is that they should have a lot of information about a foreign language, particularly, English. In fact it is fundamental because it is associated with phenomena environing us and it is in close relationship with the material world. A skilled teacher should have the ability to assess the new scientific information stemming from the scientific research intercontinental. I think they are not only important for a Chemistry teacher in Poland but also everywhere, to be able to catch up with the scientific improvements. It also spotlights the profits of experimentation in chemistry in order that the students will have better understanding of theoretical concepts and enhance the students’ skill for conducting research projects in areas of pleasure and connection to them. This paper depicts the up to system relative to chemistry education in Poland, which began after the January 2012.In the recent educational system, there is a direct connection between the students’ success in secondary education and training acquired by their lecturers at University.

Date: 2013.07.15

Posted by Françoise Derwa (Collège Saint-Véronique) (Belgium)

Message: The paper can be considered as a tool able to illustrate the current status in Poland for training teachers of Science and Chemistry.
Starting from the assumption that chemistry knowledge acquisition should be an important element of education of every high school graduate, the paper asserts it largely depends on the objectives and implementation of the curriculum of chemistry.
The paper defines the educational standards and the program for teacher training relating to training and the modules are considered in details in terms of duration, content, perspectives for improvement of teaching.
The chapter 4 of the paper is, in my opinion, the most relevant for the chemistry teacher.
Entitled “Future perspectives for enhancing attractiveness and effectiveness of chemistry
teaching at school”, this section is defines the requisites which good Chemistry teachers should have:
 a knowledge of chemistry in accordance with curriculum content of these subjects,
 be able to independently deepen this knowledge, update, and integrate with other fields of
 knowledge and transfer properly to students,
 know the correct development of students and can be a good guardian and tutor through
 knowledge based on psychology and pedagogy,
 support the intellectual development of students through appropriate teaching methods and
 educational measures,
 know how to use information technology in the classroom,
 know the foreign languages,
 want to continue to develop professionally
I personally found it a very interesting tool able to summarize in few words very important points and aspects of the teaching life.
The paper encourages to experience different approaches and methods as the interactive boards, computers, tablets, multimedia lessons. They can be successfully implemented in schools where the respective equipment is available. The paper also presents some ideas that can help teachers to better motivate students to study Chemistry - e.g. extra-curricular activities and project work.
In this way the paper also introduces the ICT.
To put in practice the new teaching approaches teachers should use interactive methods, be aware of and apply ICT in their classes when introducing new information, performing experiments, structures and samples of substances.
It’s surely a need for the modern classroom to be equipped with the latest educational technology, with teacher training encompassing the use of ICT to support the teaching of chemistry.

Date: 2013.06.17

Posted by Antonio Guardia Cabrera (Spain)

Message: This paper is relevant because analyze the problems of chemistry education and offers interesting approaches.
Underline the importance of chemistry science and the importance of transmitting knowledge in a clear and understandable manner. The importance of chemistry science is directly related to the everyday life and this can be useful to the explanation of many phenomenons that people encounter everyday.
To achieve this purpose, teachers need to get practical skills to motivate their pupils. Moreover, teachers should exploit the natural curiosity of students to make chemistry science more interesting. Furthermore, technology devices such as computers, tablets and interactive boards make learning chemistry not only more interesting, but also more effective.
Science is a subject that is constantly changing and evolving. Therefore, teachers have to consider it and adapt to the changes. A good knowledge of foreign language will help teachers to be able to participate in international mobility programs, which let them exchange their experiences around the world, and benefit from foreign sources.

Date: 2013.06.16

Posted by Ilaria Rebella (Italy)

Message: This paper is interesting because shows how the educational tendency in the field of chemistry is becoming in Europe more careful to concepts acquired during the daily experience, as a way to understand the reality and to safeguard health and environment. These purposes are the basis of the 2012, 17th January Science and Instruction Superior Ministry of Poland ordinance, signed also by the Public Instruction Minister. This ordinance establishes polish chemistry teachers training standards.The author of the paper explain how the University organized laurea and post laurea- degree courses following these new indications and underlining requirements that the new chemistry teacher will have at the end of its studies. The aim is to give a solid, reliably and systematic specific knowledge about chemistry basics and this is possible only with teachers continuum professional develop about their specific subject but also about an incisive preparation in the technological, psico-pedagogical and linguistic field.
In particular, the third paragraph, suggests to junior high school teachers to give solid basis about chemistry basics so that during the high school they could better understand chemical experiences linked to the daily experience. High school teachers have to regain during the first year these basis acquired during the junior high school and to increase them with experiences. To all teachers is suggested to play a particular attention to the evaluation that needs to be planned, applied and explained to students systematically, both to monitoring the teaching - learning process, and to motivate students to a systematically method of study. In the last paragraph the author explain the importance to use information technology teaching chemistry for a modern education, based also on the society and users requests. Furthermore an appropriate knowledge of foreigner languages so as the teacher could exchange experiences with foreign colleagues and inform oneself about educational research progress in the international field.
I want to underline the importance of the attention ascribed to the psychological and pedagogical chemistry teachers training and to the evaluation process as an educational tool if it is planned and used as monitoring of the entire teaching - learning process, permitting to the teacher a regulation of its work with students based on obtained results. This could be a good advice also for training Italian teachers, already experimented in some High School Postgraduate Schools.
The paper underlines the necessity for chemistry teachers to be able to use in the didactic field information technology and multimedia tools as computers, tablets, interactive multimedia boards, not only to favourite students’ interest and motivation but also because they are, by the author, more efficacious to guarantee the learning.
Into the paper there are not specific topics about chemistry, but it underlines the importance to give to the students basics competences to face chemical problems in non-standard situations and to lead up them to efficaciously understand complexes real phenomena.

Date: 2013.06.13

Posted by Beata Brestenská (Slovakia)

Message: This paper describes the education training of teachers and considers Chemistry education in secondary and higher schools in Poland. Paper define the educational standards and the programme for teacher training relating to training modules are considered in details in terms of duration, content, perspectives for improvement of teaching. The objectives which the teachers have to achieve in their work in primary and secondary schools are defined very clearly. In paper are reported the skills of a good Chemistry but many of those are common for all disciplines. Teacher training in Poland is now defined by an ordinance of 2012. It consists in five training modules in the second-cycle „master level“, three compulsory ones and two elective ones. Two of the three compulsory modules are focussed on the psycho-pedagogical and didactical aspects and one of them is devoted to what is called “substantive preparation for teaching of the first subject „preparation to conduct the course“. Teachers' qualification referring to the application of ICT and mastering a foreign language is presented and the authors have found out that a great number of teachers have a low level of English language skills, mainly teachers with long experience. My opinion is that is very good this a strong case for improving the foreign language proficiency of teachers, which is becoming essential in particular for continuing education and a limited knowledge of English prevents from benefitting from many interesting international pedagogical resources. Only 25% speak English fluently. The situation in Slovakia is worsed – only 15% teacheras speak fluently english. The paper shows the future perspectives in relation to the improvement of the effectiveness of Chemistry teaching in schools. What is important is the role of the experiment it is the basic research tool for every Chemistry teacher, which makes teaching more impressive and improves its educational value.In order to provide effective teaching based on educational solutions, experiments should be complemented with electronic media, computers, tables and interactive white boards. Teaching through multimedia is not only more interesting but also more effective. It is preferred by both students and their parents. Today's Chemistry teaching requires modern classrooms equipped with the latest educational technologies and teacher training in relation to how to use those technologies in Chemistry teaching and this is in Slovakia really big problem.


Date: 2013.06.10

Posted by Silvana Saiello (Italy)

Message: This paper attempts to address standards of training for chemistry teachers in Poland, and gives an overview of the current modular structure of chemistry teacher training in that country…. It emphasises the importance of teacher training programmes recognising that knowledge of chemistry alone does not ensure competence in teaching the subject, and highlights the importance of expertise in pedagogy and psychology, IT skills, and foreign language competence.
The paper does not show relevant aspects that could be useful to a chemistry teacher, but it can be valid as a collection of information about teachers' training in Europe.
Also the attempt to define standards of training for chemistry teachers seems to have failed.

Date: 2013.05.31

Posted by Katerina Paschalidou (Greece)

Message: This paper describes the Chemistry Education System in Poland, which is applied since January 2012. The main goal of this educational system is to equip pupils with the necessary Chemical knowledge to help them meaningfully think about the phenomena in the world and use them in everyday life. This can be achieved only if the teachers are appropriately trained, and on this the role of Universities is developed.
The Chemistry teacher education at Universities takes place during the second-cycle of studies and includes discipline education for teaching of first subject (first module), psychological and pedagogical education (second module) and didactic education (third module). There are also two elective modules dealing with the preparation of another subject (fourth module) and with the preparation of special didactics (fifth module).
I would like to notice in this point that the modules contain many hours of practice which is very important for the training of a new teacher.
In this paper, the importance of foreign languages knowledge is also underlined. This knowledge will help teachers to prepare their lessons using international teacher resources, to improve and continue their training even after their graduation from the University.
Concerning the ICT, it is noticed the importance of having modern schools applying in the classroom computers, tablets, interactive whiteboards and other technology tools. Teachers should know how to use information technology.
In this paper, it is also suggested that experiments should be applied on teaching Chemistry since they help students to understand chemical phenomena and of course they make the lesson much more impressive.

Date: 2013.05.30

Posted by Ioannis Sanakis (Greece)

Message: This paper describes the training of teachers in Poland with some emphasis on Chemistry education. The skills of a good Chemistry teacher are reported. Many of those are common for all disciplines. A few examples include good knowledge of the field, update, ability to transfer knowledge of the field to the pupils etc.
A few points that I think that are important and are closely related with Chemistry are:
A good Chemistry teacher should be able to promote central concepts of Chemistry such as the importance of the experiment.
The Chemistry teacher should be able to pass the message that Chemistry relates with phenomena that surround us and that it is closely related with the material world.
It is interesting that emphasis is given in the knowledge of a foreign language especially English. Apparently, for a Chemistry teacher this is important because it relates with the on-going development in the field. A good teacher should be able to evaluate the new scientific knowledge that emerges from the scientific research worldwide.
A Chemistry teacher is supposed to acquire all the above skills during the specialized graduate courses. To my opinion it is important for a Chemistry teacher, not only in Poland but everywhere, to be able to follow the scientific developments. I do not know whether the Polish state has established the appropriate mechanisms. Poland has a long tradition in Chemical research and I am convinced that the involvement of Universities and Research centers will be helpful to this end.

Date: 2013.05.30

Posted by Ilka Ivanova (Bulgaria)

Message: The article considers Chemistry education in secondary and higher schools in Poland. The authors present a kind of a "recipe" about what is required in order to achieve the objectives of Chemistry teaching - teachers should provoke students' curiosity by building research attitudes, logical thinking, association of facts, ability to draw conclusions from observation, ability to use and process information from different sources. The paper also defines the criteria which good Chemistry teachers must meet:
• a good knowledge of chemistry in compliance with the teaching content;
• an ability to deepen their knowledge, update it and integrate it into other areas of knowledge;
• an ability to rely on their knowledge in the area of psychology and pedagogy;
• an ability to support the intellectual development of their students by using appropriate teaching methods and educational measures;
• knowledge of how to use ICT in the classroom;
• knowledge of foreign languages, particularly of English, which facilitates their participation in international initiatives and their access to various teaching resources;
• an ability to continuously develop their professional skills.

The article also views the future perspectives in relation to the improvement of the effectiveness of Chemistry teaching in schools. The role of the experiment is highlighted - it is the basic research tool for every Chemistry teacher, which makes teaching more impressive and improves its educational value.
In order to provide effective teaching based on the state-of-the-art educational solutions, experiments should be complemented with electronic media, computers, tables and interactive white boards. Teaching through multimedia is not only more interesting but also more effective. It is preferred by both students and their parents. Today's Chemistry teaching requires modern classrooms equipped with the latest educational technologies and teacher training in relation to how to use those technologies in Chemistry teaching.

Date: 2013.05.30

Posted by Krasimira Tomeva (Bulgaria)

Message: The paper starts with the current educational regulations in Poland, which define the educational standards and the programme for teacher training. The training modules are considered in details in terms of duration, content, perspectives for improvement of teaching. The objectives which the teachers have to achieve in their work in primary and secondary schools are defined very clearly. Teachers' qualification referring to the application of ICT and mastering a foreign language is also presented. The authors have found out that a great number of teachers have a low level of English language skills, mainly teachers with long experience. Only 25% speak English fluently. The situation is the same in Bulgaria.
In order to improve teaching the following methods are proposed: interactive boards, computers, tablets, multimedia lessons. They can be successfully implemented in schools where the respective equipment is available. The paper also presents some ideas that can help teachers to better motivate students to study Chemistry - e.g. extra-curricula activities and project work.
To realize those ideas and approaches teachers should use interactive methods, be aware of and apply ICT in their classes when introducing new information, performing experiments, structures and samples of substances.
The publication considers the competences needed by teachers in order to raise students' interest in Chemistry. Foreign language competence is also stressed. It brings a lot of advantages: establishing contacts with teachers all over the world, sharing of experience and knowledge, using foreign resources when preparing their lessons, participating in international programmes. As it is wonderfully said in the paper "the teacher to share his passion of science with his students". I read with interest and I endorse this well written paper.

Date: 2013.05.26

Posted by Rapti Niki (Greece)

Message: This paper describes the current system regarding chemistry education in Poland, which came into action after the January 2012. In the new educational system, there is a direct link between student achievement in secondary education and training received by their teachers at University.
More specifically, according to this paper every secondary education graduate should acquire a firm, clear and systematic knowledge of the basic principles of chemistry and also have the ability to make logical conclusions by adopting an inquiring attitude and be in a position to use the acquired knowledge for explaining everyday life phenomena. In this way, the chemistry teacher should be capable to cultivate students’ natural curiosity, to construct evaluation tools of his work with the students and motivate his students to learn. Teachers’ training should provide prospective teachers with these abilities and skills and ensure competence and continuous professional development. Special emphasis is given to teachers’ practical training.
More specifically we mention the following points:
A) Undergraduate studies include 6 semesters of chemistry followed by additional education in the following topics: pedagogy-psychology (90 hours) with 30 hours of practical training, didactics (120 hours) with practical training of 120 hours, didactics of interdisciplinary subject with practical training of 60 hours and finally didactics of specialized subjects (230 hours) with practical training of 120 hours. The aim of this first cycle of studies is to produce teachers that have adequate practical knowledge and skills so that they are in a position to cover the special needs of every student.
b) Postgraduate studies provide updated knowledge both in chemistry and related sciences as well as practical training in novel teaching approaches and ICT tools.
The educational tools of every teacher should include the following:
a) examples from everyday life
b) different methods of student evaluation
c) experiment
d) ICT and multimedia applications
e) interdisciplinary activities and applications
Finally the teacher should necessarily have good knowledge of the English language, in order to be able to search and make use of the available teaching material.

In conclusion, I wish to note that, if implemented fully and correctly, the above described multilateral scheme of professional development can actually produce well-equipped teachers who can share their passion for chemistry with their students and be effective in their education.

Date: 2013.05.24

Posted by Bernard Leyh (Belgium)

Message: This paper discusses two aspects from the Polish perspective: (i) what is an adequate chemistry education for the secondary school?, and (ii) how are teachers trained ? Teacher training in Poland has been reformed and is now defined by an ordinance of 2012. It consists in five training modules in the second-cycle (master level), three compulsory ones and two elective ones. Two of the three compulsory modules are focussed on the psycho-pedagogical and didactical aspects (globally 25 ECTS credits), and one of them is devoted to what is called “substantive preparation for teaching of the first subject (preparation to conduct the course)”, which I understand as a field- (i.e., discipline, chemistry, biology, e.g.) oriented education. The possibility to follow a 10-15 ECTS credits optional unit as a “preparation of teaching another subject” is interesting but no information is given about the deepness of the previous education (bachelor level) in this secondary discipline. Another elective module deals with special education.
It should be noticed that a strong case is made for improving the foreign language proficiency of teachers, which is becoming essential in particular for continuing education. This point is, to my knowledge, usually not so much emphasized in teacher training programmes even though a limited knowledge of English prevents from benefitting from many interesting international pedagogical resources.
In addition to this master level teacher education and training, there also exists a possibility to follow the training to become a teacher at the postgraduate level. This is intended for people who have already graduated in chemistry, chemical engineering, or related fields. I understand this as a somewhat similar possibility to the “Agrégation de l’Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur” in Belgium.
A discussion is also presented about the objectives of education in lower and upper secondary school. This seems to me to follow the same trends as in many other countries, emphasizing generic competences like “shaping the research attitudes”, “the ability to draw conclusions from the observations”, “logical thinking and associating facts”, “the ability to use available information from many sources and properly selecting them”, to cite a few. In a later subsection, the central educational role of the experimental method is strongly emphasized.
The section on the evaluation of the student chemistry knowledge does not provide much information because it is limited to general, well-known and vague considerations.
The section on training standards for chemistry students (bachelor and master levels) remains also very general. I would suggest the interested reader to rather consult the following publication: “Tuning Educational Structures in Europe: Reference Points for the Design and Delivery of Degree Programmes in Chemistry” (Education and Culture DG, Life Long Learning, and European Chemistry Thematic Network”), available online: http://www.unideusto.org/tuningeu/publications/subject-area-brochures.html

Date: 2013.05.03

Posted by Kathleen Lough (Ireland)

Message: This paper attempts to address standards of training for chemistry teachers in Poland, and gives an overview of the current modular structure of chemistry teacher training in that country, which came into force in January 2012. It emphasises the importance of teacher training programmes recognising that knowledge of chemistry alone does not ensure competence in teaching the subject, and highlights the importance of expertise in pedagogy and psychology, IT skills, and foreign language competence.
Although the paper does not cite specific examples or case studies on student motivation, it strongly states that regular evaluation of knowledge is an important tool for student motivation, and that giving prompt feedback to students on their performance is important for development of good study habits. Although the paper is focused on teacher training for second level, positive use of feedback can be applied to teaching of chemistry at all levels, and the paper is not prescriptive about the method of knowledge evaluation, suggesting a variety of evaluation tools such as short quizzes, longer written tests, classroom activities etc.
It also highlights the critical importance of experimentation in chemistry to enhance the understanding of theoretical concepts and to develop students’ ability to carry out research projects in areas of interest and relevance to them. It attaches a high value to students’ being able to relate concepts studied in chemistry to everyday life and its value as a tool for students’ understanding of their environment.
It further highlights the benefits of conducting interdisciplinary activities, which allows flexibility for schools with different capabilities to approach student teaching and learning in ways that are most suitable for their individual situations.
It maintains that continuous professional development for chemistry teachers is essential if excellence is to be guaranteed in the classroom and suggests that updating of knowledge and skills is best addressed through post-graduate education in the different branches of chemistry (general, organic, inorganic and physical). It also points to the need for the modern classroom to be equipped with the latest educational technology, with teacher training encompassing the use of IT to support the teaching of chemistry.
The paper also places a high value on teachers acquiring competence in foreign languages, particularly English; as such competence facilitates participation in international collaborative initiatives and allows access to a greater variety of teaching resources.

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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