The Examination of Secondary Education Chemistry Curricula Published between 1957-2007 in Terms of the Dimensions of Rationale, Goals, and Subject-Matter

Article excerpt


Fifteen secondary education chemistry curricula published from 1957 until 2007 were examined based on the dimensions of rationale, goals, and subject matter. An examination of documents in the scope of qualitative research was carried out in the study. The goals included in the examined chemistry curricula were analyzed according to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective domains. Subject matters were analyzed by example, concept or theory/model and in terms of the statuses of object, event, property, or semiotic representation. As a result, it was determined that chemistry education in Turkey had passed through six different periods in the fifty year process. It was determined that in setting down curriculum goals, a preference had been attached to the cognitive domain rather than to the psychomotor and affective domains. The number of elements of chemistry knowledge differed in the various periods. Some chemistry curricula were based on teaching chemistry with examples while some were based on teaching chemistry with concepts.

Key Words

Chemistry Curriculum, Curriculum Analysis, Bloom's Taxonomy, Classification of Chemistry Knowledge.

At various times over the years, the restructuring of teaching curricula in the system of education in Turkey has become a matter of discussion (Demirel, 1992; Gözütok, 2003; Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MEB], 2007b; Özat, 1997; Tekisik, 1992; Turgut, 1990). Most recently, in the 2000's, new teaching curricula based on a constructivist learning approach have begun to be developed in Turkey (Açikgöz, 2003). The new teaching curricula have been drawn up on the primary and secondary school levels with the aim of producing educated individuals equipped with the human qualities demanded by the contemporary age (Karabulut, 2002; Korkmaz, 2005; Kutlu, 2005).

When the scientific studies on chemistry curricula are examined, it is observed that such studies can be grouped under three main headings. These are: (i) studies on the history of chemistry teaching curricula (Ayas, Özmen, Demircioglu, & Saglam, 1999; Gözütok, 2003; Turgut, 1990; Ünal, Costu, & Karatas, 2004; Yilmaz & Morgil, 1992); (ii) studies examining the elements of chemistry curricula (goals, subject matter, teaching-learning processes and evaluation) (Ayas, Çepni, & Akdeniz, 1993; Çoban, Uludag, & Yilmaz, 2006; Dalmaz, 2007; Gök, 2003; Koray, Bahadir, & Geçgin, 2006; Küçük & Gök, 2006; Seçken & Morgil, 1999); and (iii) studies evaluating teachers' views on chemistry curricula (Ercan, 2011; Kayatürk, Geban, & Önal, 1995; Özat, 1997; Seyit, 2010).

This study sought to examine the chemistry curricula published in the 50-year interval between 1957 and 2007, based on the rationale behind their publication, the goals set forth, and in terms of subject matter.

Theoretical Framework

Elements of the Curriculum

There are differing views on which elements comprise a curriculum. Taba (1962) and Herrick (1965), for example, stated that the elements of a curriculum were aims, goals, subject matter, learning experiences and evaluation (cited in Saylan, 1995). Sönmez (2001) stated that the basic elements of a curriculum were goals, behavior, subject matter, educational status and testing status. According to Demirel (2008), the elements of a curriculum were goals, subject matter, teaching-learning processes and evaluation.

Classifying Curriculum Goals

It was seen that in classifying the goals of curricula, the classification suggested by Bloom et al. (Bloom, Engelhart, Furst, Hill, & Krathwohl, 1956; Krathwohl, Bloom, & Masia, 1973) was rapidly adopted and widely accepted. According to Bloom's Taxonomy, goals were classified in three domains. These domains were the cognitive domain, the psychomotor domain, and the affective domain (Ayas, Çepni, Johnson, & Turgut, 1997; Demirel, 2008; Ertürk, 1998; Küçükahmet, 2001; Tekin, 1996). Classifying Knowledge in Chemistry One of the most important goals of chemistry education is to ensure that the knowledge and skills contained in the subject matter of chemistry curricula are transmitted to students. …