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Making connections: Learning and teaching chemistry in context

King, D., Bellocchi, A. and Ritchie, S.M. (2008) Making connections: Learning and teaching chemistry in context. Research in Science Education, 38 (3). pp. 365-384.

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Even though several studies have reported positive attitudinal outcomes from context-based chemistry programs, methodological obstacles have prevented researchers from comparing satisfactorily the chemistry-learning outcomes between students who experience a context-based program with those who experience a content-driven program. In this narrative inquiry we are able to address the question: how do the recalled experiences of a student and her teacher in context-based and concept-based chemistry programs compare? From the student’s unique perspective of experiencing both programs with the same teacher, we have constructed our collective account around four themes; namely, the extent to which the student makes connections between chemistry concepts and real-world contexts, developing research independence through engaging in extended experimental investigations related to contexts, learning chemistry concepts through contexts, and conceptual sequencing in a context-based program. The student reported real-world connections between chemistry concepts and contexts, found her engagement in the context-driven tasks interesting and productive, and identified connected sequences of concepts across the contexts studied. Despite difficulties for teachers who are required to shift pedagogies, the student’s lived experiences and outcomes from a context-based program provide some encouragement in working through these issues.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Springer
Copyright: 2007 Springer Science + Business Media B.V.
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