Latest Research News on Chemistry Education : Feb 2022

Improving Teaching and Learning through Chemistry Education Research: A Look to the Future

The complexity of chemistry has implications for the teaching of chemistry today. That chemistry is a very complex subject is shown from the research on problem solving and misconceptions that has dominated the field during the past 15 years. New programs, particularly those supported with NSF funding, that are based on making chemistry relevant through problem solving and collaborative learning hold promise for reforming chemistry education.[1]

An alternative conceptual framework from chemistry education

The science education literature includes many claims that learners commonly hold alternative conceptual frameworks about aspects of the science curriculum, especially in physics. There has also been criticism of the general notion of ‘alternative frameworks’, although some of this would appear to be due to different authors using the same terms in distinct ways. In this paper it is suggested that research evidence provides strong support for the view that many students of chemistry demonstrate similar alternative conceptions about some fundamental aspects of chemistry. These common alternative notions may be shown to be logically connected, and are here considered together to comprise a coherent alternative conceptual framework. Although it is not suggested that students will necessarily hold to all aspects of the framework, it is considered that the framework is a useful model of alternative thinking that teachers of chemistry should expect to find among their students.[2]


Since the 1970s’, the author was involved in researching the laboratory work. The research focused on the various issues concerning the laboratory as a unique learning environment. Most of these studies are included in this review. They were mainly conducted at the Department of Science Teaching, The Weizmann Institute of Science, in the context of chemistry curriculum development, implementation and evaluation. The review of the research studies and its related publication is organized under the following key issues: (1) The chemistry laboratory: A unique mode of learning, instruction, and assessment. (2). Assessing students’ performance and achievement using different modes of presentation in the chemistry laboratory. (3) Students’ attitude towards and interest in school chemistry laboratory work. (4) Students’ perceptions of the laboratory classroom learning environment[3]


Diverse forces shape the teaching and learning of chemistry at the beginning of the 21st Century. These include fundamental changes in the contours of chemistry as defined by new interfaces and research areas; changes in our understanding of how students learn, and how that applies to chemistry education; the wide-spread implementation of computer and information technologies to visualize complex scientific phenomena; and external forces, such as global concerns about energy and water resources and the environment, and the level of chemical literacy and public understanding of science. In responding to those forces, new dimensions to learning chemistry must be emphasized. Tetrahedral chemistry education is a new metaphor that emphasizes these dimensions, stressing the importance both of the human learner and the web of human connections for chemical reactions and processes. Examples of ways to build on this metaphor in five areas of the chemistry curriculum are outlined.[4]

Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and chemistry education

The years between 2005 and 2014 have been declared as a worldwide Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (DESD) by the United Nations. DESD’s intended purpose is to promote and more thoroughly focus education as a crucial tool preparing young people to be responsible future citizens, so that our future generations can shape society in a sustainable manner. All educational levels and domains are to be involved in contributing to ESD, including chemistry. This paper reflects upon the meaning of the UN’s challenge and on what ESD pedagogy will mean for chemistry education. Additionally, it provides an overview of different models suggesting how such integration of sustainability issues can be compatible with chemistry education. Various consequences and implications arising from this approach will also be discussed.[5]


[1] Gabel, D., 1999. Improving teaching and learning through chemistry education research: A look to the future. Journal of Chemical education, 76(4), p.548.

[2] Taber, K.S., 1998. An alternative conceptual framework from chemistry education. International Journal of Science Education, 20(5), pp.597-608.

[3] Hofstein, A., 2004. The laboratory in chemistry education: Thirty years of experience with developments, implementation, and research. Chemistry education research and practice, 5(3), pp.247-264.

[4] Mahaffy, P., 2004. The future shape of chemistry education. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 5(3), pp.229-245.

[5] Burmeister, M., Rauch, F. and Eilks, I., 2012. Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) and chemistry education. Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 13(2), pp.59-68.


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