Why Chemistry is a Difficult Subject to Study
One of the many reasons students find Chemistry hard is the nature of the contents and concepts: they are quite abstract. A study based on the constructivist learning model shows that as a teacher instructs, the student derives meaning from the content through a drawing from background intelligence, abilities, experience, and attitude. That lead s to a different concept from what the teacher says.
In America, Chemistry is more complicated due to how high schools are structured, such that each discipline gets taught in a year. Students get fed a lot of content by using some massive books that they possibly cannot get hold of, which leads to cognitive overload. That is the reason most countries leaning the same content outperform the US in science related subjects. It got suggested that chemistry should get reexamination as the matter is out of touch with reality. It also gets decontextualized. There has been numerous research conducted regarding the difficulties students face in the subject over the years. There is a large disconnect between the teacher’s realm and that of the research community.
How can teaching get modified?
Research previously conducted has found that most students enter the classrooms with premeditated knowledge about science. For a successful transfer of concepts, there needs to be a bridge created to marry the existing ones and the new scientific aspects. Teachers should monitor their students and ask them questions on their conceptions to understand what they already know to help them plan for the unit for further learning to take place.
For teachers to have an easy time determining their misconceptions, teachers can issue a diagnostic test that is multiple choice, which also lists the common misconceptions. A teacher could show the students two diagrams or drawings that are different, consisting of one crystal sodium chloride and the other of a sodium chloride solution, and then ask the learners to state the teacher’s similarities and differences to see alternate conceptions. Concept mapping, a conceptual change model designed to decrease students’ misconceptions, determined that most fantasies remained.
Another different method that has gotten reviews for undermining misconceptions involves using cartoons in which students do debate and try to justify a given concept. The comics concept houses those with correct information and delusions common to students and the general public. That allows students to critically think through the different viewpoints with the sole purpose of determining the right concept and mirror it in their studies.
Teachers should, therefore, infuse a change model that gets conceptual and one that aims to address misconceptions. The method calls for learners to give out their knowledge about the subject matter and then an informative lesson from an expert. Through this, the teacher will form opportunities that grant the students the chance to air out their dissatisfaction about their misconceptions and then follow it up with the correct information. That leaves the students satisfied with the outcome as they can now grasp the required information.
With its abstract nature, more appealing and familiar to the students, teachers mostly use models, analogies, and metaphors to make chemistry. It gets otherwise advised that, while the analogies have gained the upper hand to infuse things such as comparing to a similar element in the real world, abstract concepts, and the motivational function, teachers need to be aware of their setbacks.
Students sometimes can take it a little too far and give out misinformation, as evidenced in the solar system’s metaphor. In efforts to reduce the complications that chemistry comes with, teachers sometimes will minimize the amount of content that is supposed to get taught. The simplification will do more harm than good since it will confuse the students even further, especially to the students who plan on furthering their education based on chemistry. A recent study suggests that instead, teachers should utilize a conceptual change model to tailor new and fresh intelligence and knowledge with personal knowledge.
Suppose instructors get well equipped with literacy strategies to help them tackle chemistry with its abstract nature and assist the students with the misconceptions. In that case, students will soon not term chemistry as a killer subject or course but will be more eager to learn it. It will give them a different perspective on the topic and also its pros.