Dissertation Project Henning Krake

Summary Dissertation Project Implementation of basis-model-based teaching and learning considering experimental phases into the education of pre-service chemistry teachers

Theoretical background:

The quality of teachers as a subject of empirical research is closely related to research regarding the quality of instruction and teacher education. Research on the quality of instruction provides general (subject-unspecific) criteria of instruction which correlate positively with measured variables of performance, interest and attitudes. For subjects in which experiments play a significant role (e.g. chemistry and physics) a distinct relation between target-orientation as well as quality-criteria of experimentation (e. g. development of problems, autonomous planning of experiments) and learning, especially considering cognitive aspects of learning, could be shown (Seidel et al., 2006; Schulz & Walpuski, 2010).     

From video studies conducted at German schools one can conclude that sequencing plays an essential role for learning, where sequencing is understood as a structuring of instructions related to educational objectives in a way that is intrinsic and based on learning-processes. At the same time, these studies show a lack of this sequencing in chemistry and physics lessons in Germany (Seidel et al. 2006).   

Oser and Patry (1990) propose basis-models as choreographies of teaching based on psychological learning theories. They describe twelve different learning sequences (basis-models) according to twelve different types of learning goals for a better focus on the students’ learning process. Each basis-model consists of specific chains of operations within a pre-determined order. Video studies of lessons in chemistry and physics (Reyer, 2004; Trendel et al., 2007; Walpuski, 2006) established three particularly important basis-models for these subjects: learning through personal experience, concept building, and problem solving. A study exploring the effectivity of an advanced training for teachers in physics considering the progression of students’ content knowledge revealed a positive relation between completeness and correct sequence of chains of operation in lessons and knowledge gains for the students, especially for slow learners (Zander et al., 2013). These results point at the benefits of this teaching concept. The next step would be the collaboration with teacher trainers in order to implement this concept into the education of teachers particularly of pre-service teachers.          

Aims and research questions:

The aim of the project is to integrate a prototypical module introducing basis-models and quality-criteria for experimentation into the education of pre-service chemistry teachers. Chemistry education should not only provide teacher trainers with knowledge about the development and teaching of the concept but also regulate the process of implementation and evaluate the success of the concept.   

The following research questions are addressed:

  1. Is there an intervention effect on the pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) of teacher trainers?
  2. Is there an intervention effect on the PCK, the basis-model-based teaching and learning and the sequence of experimental phases of teaching-candidates?

Design und methods:

The sample consists of several teacher trainers with their according group of pre-service teachers. It will be split into an intervention group, where the teacher trainers will implement the basis-models and sequencing of experimental phases and a control group, which no alternations to their current seminar structure. Each teacher trainer coaches six to seven pre-service teachers in average. As a result, at least four teacher trainers are needed for each experimental group to generate the target value of 30 pre-service teachers. Due to the legal framework a random sampling is not possible, because the teacher trainers are free to choose their group.  

The intervention success will be evaluated by the following variables and instruments in a pre/post-design:

The teacher trainers’ attitudes towards basis-model-based teaching and learning will be assessed by a stages-of-concern questionnaire (adapted version from Michaelis, 2007). Teacher trainers’ and pre-service teachers’ PCK regarding sequencing of lessons in general and in experimental phases in particular will be assessed by a questionnaire (adapted version from Borowski et al., 2010). Additionally to the PCK questionnaire the pre-service teachers’ PCK will be analysed on the basis of lesson plans. The pre-service teachers’ ability of sequencing in practice will be examined by video analysis of the filmed lessons. For this purpose coding manuals from previous studies will be used, which have been developed and evaluated in previous studies.