The mismatch between students' mental models of acids/bases and their sources and their teacher's anticipations thereof

Jing Wen Lin, Mei Hung Chiu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aim of this study is to compare the characteristics and sources of students' mental models of acids and bases with a teacher's anticipations and, based on this comparison, to explore some possible explanations why motivated students might fail to learn from a subject-knowledgeable chemistry teacher. The study involves a chemistry teacher and her 38 ninth graders and focuses on the mental models of three high achievers and three low achievers who were interviewed in depth. Four students' mental models of acid and base are identified. The mental models and sources of students' conceptions of acids and bases that influenced the high achievers are compared to those of the low achievers. We find that the teacher in the study made accurate anticipations of her students' mental models in the case of the high achievers but inaccurate anticipations of the low-achievers' mental models and the diverse sources influencing their mental models. In addition, the teacher incorrectly attributed the poor achievement of the low-achieving students to their intuition and underestimated the effects of her teaching on the achievement of these students. As a result, the teacher's instruction reinforced the low-achievers' incorrect mental models. Finally, the different approaches for teaching students with different achievements are emphasized according to the empirical data in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1617-1646
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Volume32
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Aug 1

Keywords

  • Acid and base
  • Mental models
  • Pedagogical content knowledge
  • Sources of mental models
  • Teacher's anticipations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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