|Ph.D Thesis||Department of Education in Science and Technology|
|Supervisors:||Prof. Dori Yehudit|
|Dr. Orit Herscovitz|
|Full Thesis text|
Context-based chemistry and higher order thinking skills was the framework for establishing a new chemistry curriculum for Israeli high school students. As part of this endeavor, we developed the Taste of Chemistry module, which focuses on context-based chemistry, chemical understanding, student’s self-regulation, and graphing skill. For an educational reform to succeed, teachers need to adjust their views to the new content and teaching and assessment methods.
? Examining teachers’ views towards challenges they experienced while teaching the Taste of Chemistry module; implementation of thinking skills into teachers’ context-based instruction; and teachers’ adjustments of students’ assessment to be aligned with the module goals.
? Investigating the effect of (a) the combination of learning in context, the application of the four chemistry understanding levels, and the use of a metacognitive tool on students’ perceived and actual knowledge; (b) learning in context-based and multiple representations environment on students’ graphing skill; (c) teacher’s role in promoting students’ self-regulated learning for enhancing their perceived and actual knowledge of food concepts and graphing skill.
Research participants included a focus group of eight teachers who taught the module and 370 students. Experimental students studied the module and were exposed to a metacognitive tool for monitoring their thinking processes, while the control ones studied the traditional curriculum. Research tools included interviews, classroom observations, teacher-designed students’ assignments, and pre-post students’ questionnaires.
We documented challenges teachers had faced and found that they had developed different ways of coping with these challenges. Developing teachers’ assessment knowledge was the highest stage in teachers’ professional growth, building on their content knowledge, pedagogy knowledge, and pedagogical-content knowledge. These teachers played an important role in promoting efficient application of metacognitive thinking. Examining the students, we found that the post-metacognitive gap?perceived knowledge minus actual knowledge scores?of the experimental students was significantly smaller than that of their counterparts. Using the metacognitive tool improved students’ ability to self-regulate their knowledge while the combination of moving across table and graph representations in a context-based science environment contributed to higher gains for the experimental students. The theoretical contribution of this research is threefold: (a) assignments designed by teachers as an instrument for determining their professional growth, (b) applying a metacognitive tool for improving students’ perceived knowledge and actual knowledge, and (c) using the metacognitive gap as a measure for students’ self-regulation improvement.