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Chemistry Teaching at School - Problems and Solutions

Milena Koleva

Technical University of Gabrovo (Bulgaria)

[email protected]


Recent years have seen the subsiding interest in sciences, including Chemistry, among young people. In general, the cause of this negative tendency has not been clearly defined. To a certain extent it may be due to the transition of our society toward a different political and social system. Another possible cause is the globalization and its impact on the educational process. Chemistry is regarded as tough science by young and adult learners. The teaching content of most school courses in chemistry add their finishing touch to the entire picture. Disproportionate informational input, too much theorization and systematic ignoring of laboratory experiments in chemistry have discouraged a great number of students who would otherwise direct their interest to this particular subject. Last but not least is the lack of whatever prospects for those who would venture in making a career in chemistry.

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Comments about this Paper

Your comments are welcome

Date: 2014.04.25

Posted by Abdillahi Hajiomer Hassan (Turkey)

Message: The paper highlights the negative impacts towards students interest in learning science in general and chemistry in particular and points out the causes of the decline of interest and students motivation in learning chemistry in Bulgaria. One of the main problems discussed in the paper is the lack of experiments and practical sessions. In fact this is a global problem towards science subjects in which there is lack of appropriate modern science equipments and or teachers may ignore the importance of practical activities in many parts of the world.
The study also introduces the solutions to the problems that may treat the obstacles and may lead to successful results of teaching learning processes in Bulgaria. It also suggests the roles of government policy towards the improvement of science education. In my opinion the paper is relevant and can be used but the problem needs further researches so that real causes will be found from different angles and then correct steps will be taken.

Date: 2012.10.03

Posted by Mehmet Polat KALAK (Turkey)

Message: The regarding paper’s purpose is to emphasize the youth’s interest in sciences – especially chemistry – becoming lack. The author summerizes the Bulgarian education system, where this research takes place in, in order to unveil the system’s inadequacy in detail, if any exists.

Given in the abstract, main reasons why interest in such sciences go down are not found in evidence. The author’s personal opinions, which are exclusively about local issues, take place over the main purpose of this paper. These opinions are given as facts and can be regarded as the obstacles in the students’ way to such sciences as chemistry.
In advance, the author reveals some negative sides of contemporary school system. These negative aspects are emphasized in the following paragraph and correlated with the natural science teachers’ educational challenges afterwards. In the meantime, these lacknesses are found as negative experiences in motivating students in educational purpose, which should already be mentioned in this kind of research.

On the other hand, the main and almost only reason why chemistry teachers can’t keep up to date to the scientific progress is the lack of proper modern equipment, accordingly. As this proved reality can be found in almost any school in this age, it would be unproper not to mention it.

I find it inconclusive not to mention how to exploit these lacknesses. But the author draws attention to some of upcoming ideas about how to increase students’ motivation and interest in chemistry, which are shortly “Scientific theatre” method and video lessons. The author compensates the paper’s inconlusiveness by regarding these.

Date: 2012.09.27

Posted by James Ring (Ireland)

Message: I found this to a very informative paper on the topic with meaningful suggestions to address the difficulties experienced by bothe teachers and students as well as government policy. Such suggestions could easily be translated Europe wide and beyond with slight adaptation to suit the individual countries.

The paper looks at and explains the students issues with the chemistry as well as the school system in general. It gives understandable reasoning behind the problems, and not just with students but with regards to teachers and the schools themselves in terms of outdated equipment etc.

The paper then looks at practical solutions giving details examples of how this can be achieved. I have found myself in complete agreement with the suggestions, and know that in most, if not all countries the problems and solutions to the issues with chemistry uptake are very similar. I also like the mention of fostering strong relevant links with industry, to ensure that the educational system is contemporary and interesting.

I would strongly endorse this well written, explained and thought out paper.

Date: 2012.09.05

Posted by Korfios Vagelis (Greece)

Message: This Paper refers to the educational system of Bulgaria and the reasons for which students are not interested in Chemistry.
In Bulgaria, there is a high rate of dropping out of school very early. The educational system has given Chemistry a “bad” orientation. Education is very slowly adapting to the novel needs and tendencies and this results to very little use of the new teaching methodologies. The personal needs of students are not taken into account and the system is not connected with the job market. Laboratories in secondary schools are not upgraded with modern equipment.
The educational system in general is designed for the average student in a way that it does not take into account the specific needs neither of the weak nor of the very bright students. As a result, there is a lack of motives for engaging in chemistry learning, and physical sciences in general and increasing preference for the social sciences.
The Paper refers to the different problems students face in understanding chemistry and which are related to the “obscure” textbook content, unattractive teaching methods, demanding evaluation, unattractive laboratories and experiments, no connection to the job market. The teachers refer in addition to the academic style of the textbooks and their insufficient training.
Taking into account these problems that also us as Greek teachers have faced, I believe that popularization of chemistry, new teaching methods, lab experimentation, connection with every day life applications and not too much information and equations which are difficult to assimilate could be possible ways for increasing student interest and motivation.
Regarding the suggested solutions, the Paper refers mainly to the Bulgarian educational system as a whole. Focusing on Chemistry, there is a specific reference to an alternative approach that includes theatrical play and use of videos. In my opinion, this is an interesting approach which however requires a lot of effort from both the students and teachers and which is not a cure for the causes of the problem (ie lack of student motivation). I would prefer that a more in depth research had been conducted, which would involve the views of the students themselves by employing questionnaires and/or personal interviews.

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.