ATTITUDES AND EXPERIENCES OF ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PUPILS AS GUIDELINES FOR IMPROVING PRE-SERVICE CHEMISTRY TEACHERS’ COMPETENCIES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF PROBLEM-BASED TEACHING
Katarina B. Putica
Modern society makes it a requirement of the educational systems to prepare pupils for successful adaptation to the changeable conditions of life and professional market, which also presupposes the preparedness to apply the knowledge of natural sciences, in order to overcome the numerous challenges caused by the fast scientific and technological development. Given that problem-based chemistry teaching can provide a significant contribution to this cause, five students of the study program Chemical Education at the Faculty of Chemistry University of Belgrade conducted a survey in which 93 pupils of the seventh grade and 74 pupils of the eight grade of elementary school took part, in order to learn about the pupils’ attitudes and experiences with this way of teaching. Students, also, comprised age appropriate tests, which checked the pupils’ preparedness to apply the knowledge of chemistry, in order to solve problems from everyday life. In this way, it was ascertained that the pupils from both grades had previous experiences with the problem-based chemistry teaching, and that they do not have negative attitude toward it. They find such a way of learning to be more difficult, but also more interesting, possible learning difficulties could be more easily overcome with more help form the teacher, or by learning within a group of pupils, and in order to prevent them, the teacher must check whether the pupils possess enough previously acquired knowledge in order to solve the given problems. The results of the tests show that the eighth grade pupils, having more experience with the problem-based teaching, as well as the wider span of the previously acquired knowledge, were significantly more successful, in comparison to the seventh grade pupils. In this way, pre-service chemistry teachers gained insight into the greatest challenges of the problem-based teaching and the ways in which they could be overcome, thus improving their competencies for the implementation of this way of teaching.
Keywords: problem-based teaching, pre-service teachers, chemistry.
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