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Learning Year 12 Chemistry in Samoa:Barriers and Support

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Learning Year 12 Chemistry in Samoa:Barriers and Support

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Learning Year 12 Chemistry in Samoa:Barriers and Support

The report also discusses how the Strategy for the Development of Samoa(SDS) 2016/17-2019/20,in relation to education,is focused on improving the quality of life for all Samoans,thus ensuring that sustainable and societal progress is reflected in classroom interactions and achievements at secondary school level.

The examination of the data suggests that barriers and support range from teaching and learning expectations,motivating factors and classroom practice to teaching and learning styles.

Introduction

Having spent a number of years teaching secondary school chemistry in Samoa,I realised that many Year 12 chemistry students found learning chemistry problematic and they struggleed with applying chemical principles to everyday situations.Some students failed to recognise any relationship between the chemistry taught in class and their surroundings and therefore,they did not perceive any value or relevance in studying chemistry —other than to pass exams.In Samoa,students' achievement level in chemistry is a concern.In addition,there has been a decrease in the number of students opting for science or chemistry at higher levels.As a result,the following questions can be asked:what is going on in the classroom? Why,after so many years of teaching the same curriculum,students' learning of chemistry is still problematic? These are two of the questions that I wish to answer whilst working on this research project.

This paper reports an exploration of the findings of my research investigation during my Ph.D.study.The investigation was conducted in three government co-ed secondary schools in Samoa:one located in a rural area and two located in the urban regions of Upolu,which is the most populated island of Samoa.There is one case study in each of the three schools:this being the schools' chemistry classroom.In each case,five chemistry students and one chemistry teacher were invited to participate.The central aim of my Ph.D.investigation was to understand the teaching and learning processes found in Year 12 chemistry classrooms,in Samoa.The primary focus was to explore the nature of factors that contribute to achievements — including both barriers and support.In particular,the teaching and learning of one of the units in the organic chemistry strand,hydrocarbons,was investigated.

This paper is divided into three sections.The first section offers a brief outline of the background to my Ph.D.research investigation.It discusses a brief description of how the Strategy for the Development of Samoa(SDS)2016/17-2019/20,in relation to education,is focused on improving the quality of life for all Samoans,thus ensuring that sustainable and societal progress is reflected in classroom interactions and achievements at secondary school levels.Subsequently,there is a brief description of the methods used for the data collection.The following section begins with an outline of the three themes,which are supported by the relevant literature.The final section is a summary of this presentation and several future directions for this project are suggested.

The Research

Background to the study

Education is central to the future well-being of Samoa.It teaches young people the virtue of reason and it plays an important role in maintaining and developing the cultural fabric of society.Education develops in students the skills and attitudes needed to succeed in an ever-changing world.Today,that role is expanding since education will not only continue to shape the nation's cultural future:it is also central to the nation's economic and social well-being.

Internationally,over a time span of more than 30 years,students have studied basic chemistry as part of their science curricular.However,despite the regular teaching and re-teaching of these concepts and the use of projects and external assistance,research on students in New Zealand and Samoa has shown that more than fifty percent of students,in their final year (Year 13) at high school,maintained misconceptions,which led to a constant“low level of achievement”.An explanation for this phenomenon would not be simple — and it would be difficult to come to any conclusions — unless educators are able to gain an in-depth understanding of the nature of these classroom,including the teachers and the students' experiences.

A literature review shows that there has been a real concern about the conceptual understanding of chemistry in secondary school students.The findings from these researchers show that more authentic and meaningful learning takes place,when the learning is contextual and made more relevant to the students' own life.A study by Bhattacharya and Richards (2000) suggests that teachers need to become reflective thinkers and compliant with various effective teaching and learning tools,in order to engage students within collaborative and interactive learning environments.These strategies can improve the quality of students' learning,thus making their learning contextual,which will then result in an improvement in their academic achievement.However,the teaching and learning of chemistry in classrooms today appears to focus mainly on helping students to pass exams.

Theoretical framework and plans of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC)

The Strategy for the Development of Samoa(SDS)2016/17-2019/20,in relation to education,is an integral part of the government's overall economic strategy,with its focus on“improving the quality of life for all Samoans and boosting productivity for sustainable development”.Thus,the Samoan government has acknowledged the vital role of education in achieving its vision.New school improvement programmes have been developed to reinforce the four goals of Samoa education,which encourage (i) the development of comprehensive and enriching curricula;(ii) the development of active,interactive and creative pedagogies;(iii) the development of impartial evaluation and assessment methods;and (iv) support for individuals and society,through a humane education system.

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论文目录

  • Introduction
  • The Research
    1. Background to the study
    2. Theoretical framework and plans of the Ministry of Education Sports and Culture (MESC)
    3. Methods used in the study
  • Themes and the Literature
    1. ThemesThe
    2. Theme 1:Teaching and learning expectations
    3. What the literature says about teaching and learning expectations
    4. Theme 2:Motivating factors and classroom practice
    5. What the literature says about motivating factors and classroom practice
    6. Theme 3:Teaching and learning styles
    7. What the literature says about teaching and learning styles
  • Summary
    1. Direction of research

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