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Analysis of current elementary chemistry textbooks based on developed quality criteria

Nina Zupanc (2019) Analysis of current elementary chemistry textbooks based on developed quality criteria. MSc thesis.

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    Abstract

    A textbook is part of a methodical-didactic material that is used while teaching. It represents a source of information for students as well as a helping tool for the teacher to prepare a lesson. A textbook is related to the subject or module and to a specific level. While validating textbooks, several dilemmas and critiques arise, since some believe that the state should leave the market to its own rules, while others insist that the state should regulate this area. The research TIMSS 2007 showed that 53 % of Slovenian pupils in the 8th grade had teachers that use a textbook as a primal source of teaching, which is the same as average international results show. A textbook as an additional source of teaching is used among 47 % of teachers; this is slightly above the world average according to the research. 34 % of teachers in Germany self-reported that they use the textbook to broaden their own knowledge. When it comes to validating textbooks in Slovenia, there are no unified criteria; therefore, we can spot mistakes in validated textbooks, not to mention that validation might be under pressure from the publisher. The main purpose of the research was to make and evaluate the quality criteria and evaluate textbooks for Chemistry in primary school. We have focused on that specific content because the ideas and concepts presented in them have an important effect on pupil’s understanding of fundamental natural concepts and procedures. Criteria were made for textbooks used in 8th and 9th grade of primary school; we have analysed currently validated textbooks. With qualitative and quantitative methods, we gained data of the number of criteria a single textbook contains and the frequency of occurrence of such criteria in the analysed textbooks according to the topics from the syllabus. In the experimental part of textbooks, we found out that in most textbooks there is no instruction for independent experimental learner’s experience and that the experiments contain already mentioned predictions and conclusions. If there are instructions for experimental work, their content is meagre. The described experiments are accompanied by pictures, but they do not include pictograms for dangerous substances. Textbooks do not encourage the basics of scientific work through experimental content, because the text already assumes what will happen. The experimental part of the textbook also does not demand to differentiate between the dependent and independent variable and experimental constant. When analysing criteria related to the prior knowledge learners possess, we have found out that textbooks demand only the knowledge related to the specific unit; there is no request to combine knowledge gained during natural science subjects in previous years. Majority of exercises are from the lower taxonomy levels because pupils reproduce what was already mentioned during the unit. The analysis shows that new and difficult words are written in bold or are coloured and sometimes they are explained by using examples. Representations are mostly on a symbolic level, followed by macroscopic level. Submicro representations and hybrid pictures are the least common features in the textbooks. Textbooks contain everyday examples, but they do not include plenty of current scientific questions that would help pupils to understand modern natural science. Textbooks lack clear interdisciplinary connections that could help pupils to broaden and revise their knowledge and knowledge gained from other subjects.

    Item Type: Thesis (MSc thesis)
    Keywords: primary school, chemistry, textbooks, quality criteria of textbooks
    Number of Pages: 95
    Language of Content: Slovenian
    Mentor / Comentors:
    Mentor / ComentorsIDFunction
    izr. prof. dr. Iztok DevetakMentor
    Link to COBISS: https://plus.si.cobiss.net/opac7/bib/peflj/12584265
    Institution: University of Ljubljana
    Department: Faculty of Education
    Item ID: 5940
    Date Deposited: 16 Sep 2019 12:19
    Last Modified: 16 Sep 2019 12:19
    URI: http://pefprints.pef.uni-lj.si/id/eprint/5940

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