Following on from last month’s #chemedcarnival hosted on Katherine Haxton’s blog, CERG are happy to host the second carnival, where people have written blogs responding to the prompt:
What education research has most influenced your practice?
Katherine’s own blog post on this topic describes how seminars from Prof Carl Wiemann on concepts over content influenced her thinking on approaches to teaching and in particular the argument for focussing on concepts instead of content. Using a useful analogy of teaching cake making, this post outlines the argument in favour of reducing content. [Link to Katherine’s post]
Scott Sneddon’s post presents the view of a trainee teacher. Reading research presents the challenge of searching for applicability, and Scott makes the case for such articles to be written in a manner that is accessible beyond a specialist audience. His chosen influence is on scaffold assessments, with a conscious eye on accessibility, and he offers some useful examples from his own practice on how he integrated this into his own practice. [Link to Scott’s post]
Kristy Turner’s post discusses the spiral curriculum, incorporating Jerome Bruner’s concept that topics can be taught to children in an intellectually honest manner at any stage of development, with the level of complexity increasing at each iteration or spiral in the curriculum. Kristy elaborates on how this happens in practice, with the example of acids at stages 11 – 14, 14 – 16, and post 16, including a useful way to differentiate content to pupils who may be struggling with particular topics. [Link to Kristy’s post]
Bob Worley’s post is about the influence of Alex Johnstone, and Johnstone’s triangle. As a teacher, this work made him feel that he “was not alone”, as Johnstone described and explained why pupils find some topics in chemistry difficult. He draws from examples in Johnstone’s textbooks to show how the three domains of chemistry: macro, sub-micro, and symbolic can be incorporated into a teaching scenario, with thing becoming iteratively more complex (sound familiar from above?!). [Link to Bob’s post]
Johnstone’s triangle appears again on Ollie’s blog, where he writes that he has thinking about Johnstone’s work, and in particular his paper “Why is science difficult to learn?” for more than 20 years. This post outlines teaching approaches in moving between different domains in Johnstone’s triplet. It finishes with an interesting overview of another triplet in chemistry… and not an NMR one! [Link to Ollie’s post]
Nimesh Mistry’s writes about student motivation in his post, with the approaches students take to study the underlying research that has influenced him. Nimesh has drawn on this work to consider his teaching practice so that it influences student motivation, such as incorporating context based examples to provide authentic learning scenarios. Nimesh provides some feedback from students indicating that the approach is considered very valuable to them. [Link to Nimesh’s post]
Patrick Thomson writes about how he came across Peer Instruction at a conference and never looked back. He outlines the approach and how he subsequently looked (and found) evidence of its value in his own teaching. [Link to Patrick’s post]
We are looking forward to the next ChemEd Carnival? Who will be the host?