TITLE: Exploring the teaching of chemical bonding models - teachers’ knowledge, school textbooks’ influence and the relationship between teachers’ knowledge and classroom behaviorDescription of the project: In the last two decades, researchers have shown a growing interest in science teachers’ knowledge. This study focuses on chemistry teachers’ knowledge of one of the most important topics at upper secondary school chemistry, chemical bonding, dominated by the use of models.Research has shown that several problems in teaching models exist and that chemical bonding is a topic that students find difficult. The aim of this study is to investigate the teachers’ knowledge of teaching chemical bonding models and the school textbooks’ influence on this knowledge, and the relationship between this knowledge and their behaviour in the classroom. In the first step of the study, ten Swedish chemistry teachers were designing a series of lesson plans about chemical bonding. These lesson plans were explained and clarified during semi-structured interviews with the teachers. Further, the textbooks used by the teachers were analyzed. In the second step, teaching behavior in classroom will bee videotaped, and followed by interviews.
TITLE:Technology education in Swedish compulsoryschool - with focus on how five teachers in grade 7-9 handles the content.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: Technology is a rather new subject in the Swedish compulsory school. Therefore, it is important to study different teachers teaching to get a picture of the shape of the subject. Focus in my study it is the question of what teachers direct the students’ attention towards during the lessons. Five teachers from the Swedish compulsory school were interviewed about technology and technology as a subject in school, and one field of work for each of the teachers were observed. The observations resulted in about 50 hours of video recordings. The analysis is based on the variation theory.
Jorryt van Bommel
TITLE: Improving Teaching - Improving Results: Improving as a teacher
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: For some decades Action and Design research have been trying to answer the need for developmental research. A Learning Study is another form of design research, developed in Gothenburg – Sweden. It is inspired by the lesson study model used in for instance in Japan. The learning study leans on variation theory which provides the teachers involved with a theory to support and strengthen their didactical and pedagogical skills. Variation theory even provides the researcher involved with tools for analyzing the data obtained. In a learning study a team of teachers first decides on an ‘Object of Learning’ in which they then try identify ‘critical aspects’: aspects critical for understanding the object of learning. Our learning study will be conducted in a course in mathematics for prospective teachers (autumn 2008/spring 2009). The object of learning is teacher education specific: to develop a structure of pedagogical content knowledge. At this stage we are identifying the critical aspects.
The study has different aims. First of al one could say that we want to improve our teaching. Through better teaching we want to improve student results considering the object of learning. We also want to look at the short and long term effect of a Learning study on the teaching of the teachers involved. Finally the design of this particular learning study is tested and will contribute to the research field by giving new ways of implementation of a learning study.
TITLE: The gap between the curriculum and teachers knowledge
The purpose of this study is to investigate upper secondary school teachers’ understanding of the concept of sustainable development, their attitudes towards it and their views on appropriate teaching methods. Our goal is to identify opportunities for, and barriers to, education for sustainable development. The concept of sustainable development is complex, and previous research shows that teachers have difficulties in understanding the meaning of the concept. Because the Swedish curriculum states that every subject should include sustainable development issues, it is important to investigate teachers’ understanding of the concept, and if this differs depending on which subjects they teach. To date, little information exists on how education for sustainable development is understood and taught by teachers representing all subject areas. A pilot study was conducted at four upper secondary schools in Sweden, N=138. The results show that 45 % of the teachers believe the biggest difficulties in including sustainable development within their teaching is that they lack the necessary subject knowledge. Only 33% teach according to pluralistic environmental education, which is also called “education for sustainable development. It also shows that many teachers lack a holistic perspective of the concept and 75 % of the teacher’s state that they have a desire for further education. Teacher’s positive attitude towards sustainable development and their desire for further education promises to help achieve successful implementation of the UN call concerning education for sustainable development.
TITLE: Upper secondary students’ use of scientific knowledge in arguing on socioscientific issues
The ability of argumentation has been stressed in school education and science education during the past decades. But how much students could use scientific knowledge into their argumentation is still unclear. The purpose of this study is to investigate upper secondary students’ resources of supporting reasons while making written arguments on four socioscientific issues (SSIs) related to sustainable development issues, and to explore how much scientific knowledge students could use. 40 upper secondary students with focus on science and 40 students focused on social science at the end of their education (18-19 years of age, grade 12) to participate in the study. All the students were asked to express their opinion on a SSI individually via a written report– they could choose one out of four, and formulate arguments to support their standpoints. The SSIs addressed in this research are global warming, GMO, nuclear power and consumption. The analysis is made with focus on what resources could be found in students supporting reasons used by the students.
TITLE: The application of models in teaching and learning of gene function
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: Research in science education has shown that genetics is one of the most problematic areas of biology education for students to learn and widespread concept confusion has been documented. Several reasons have been suggested explaining these facts. In my project the aim is to elucidate in what way a model perspective could contribute to a better understanding of teaching and learning gene function. This is done in a ‘nature of science’ as well as ‘history of science’ perspective. Textbooks at upper secondary school are studied and teacher’s as well as textbook writer’s opinions about models in genetics is investigated. Further an intervention implementing and testing the outcomes of this perspective in a school setting is planned
TITLE: Learning in Technical Vocational Education – Theory and Practice
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: This study is a part of a project studying technical vocational education in upper secondary school. The focus is on the relation between theory and practice in teaching at the Energy- and at the Industry Programmes. In the PhD project, the understanding of materials and what is possible to learn about materials in different contexts will also be focused. The aim is to contribute with knowledge about different contexts’ importance for learning within technical oriented vocational education in upper secondary school.
TITLE: Easy plant experiments for pupils 10-12 years old – a way to make science interesting?
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: The project aims at stimulating interest in biology among 10-12 year old children through a series of easy experiments with plants. The purpose of the project is to investigate if there are critical interest-increasing moments in the experimental work with plants. It will also be tested if these moments are general and could be translated to other experiments in other science subjects. Methods used are interviews and observations. Interviews with girls and boys will reveal if there are any differences in critical interest-increasing moments between the sexes.
Plants are an excellent material for experiments in school: plants are familiar to all children, they are easy to cultivate, cheap and easy to buy. Furthermore, work with plants is not dangerous if you avoid toxic and/or allergenic plants. Results from these experiments are clear and easy to understand.
TITLE: Teachers’ talk about central genetic concepts at micro level and their connection to macro level
The purpose of this case study is to contribute to the understanding of why students experience difficulties in learning genetics. The teachers are important in students learning, and therefore this study focuses on the teachers talk in the classroom. The study is guided by questions of how the teachers explain the concepts of chromosome, DNA and gene and their relation to different biological organizational levels. Empirical data are collected through observations as well as audio and video recordings. The observations will be undertaken in 2009/2010 in four different 9th grade classes in Sweden, through the whole teaching sequence of genetics. The teachers are qualified biology teachers with at least five years’ experience.
M.D. Research Projects
TITLE: 3-D dynamic visualizations of difficult molecular biology processes, especially regarding protein
DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT: Many concepts in molecular biology and biochemistry may be easier to understand with the aid of visualizations. Pictures are frequently used in textbooks, but are static and not ideal for visualization of dynamic processes. The aim of my project is to learn more about which concepts and processes that benefit from 3-D dynamic visualizations. Animations are produced, tested and evaluated. The research data is collected from Students at Karlstad University by questionnaires and audio-taping. The main research questions are:
∙ Understandable? (The animations themselves and the biochemical concepts/processes beyond the 3-D dynamic visualizations).
∙ Useful for teaching (replacement function or complementary function at the introduction and clarification phase of teaching).
∙ Lay out aspects (for instance, use of colours, quality of added verbal information, support of the pictures, and tempo of presentation).
Author: Birgitta McEwen
The page was updated on 2013-01-14 11:49