An Evaluation of Advanced Level Chemistry Teaching in Gweru District Schools, Zimbabwe

By Shadreck, Mandina | Asian Social Science, August 2012 | Go to article overview

An Evaluation of Advanced Level Chemistry Teaching in Gweru District Schools, Zimbabwe


Shadreck, Mandina, Asian Social Science


Abstract

This study evaluated the implementation of the Advanced level chemistry curriculum in Gweru district secondary schools in Zimbabwe. To guide this study seven research questions were raised and answered. The study employed a descriptive survey design and three instruments were used to collect data from 6 secondary schools selected from 12 schools in the district using the Probability Proportionate to Size (PPS) sampling technique. Six (6) school heads, 10 chemistry teachers and 130 students participated in the study. The instruments used for data collection were a questionnaire, interviews and personal observations. The study established that the important factors that limit the quality of chemistry teaching and learning include overloaded curriculum content and inadequate time for teaching chemistry; inadequate resources, apparatus, equipment and consumables. Insufficient funding of science, lack of support staffand ineffective teaching methodologies further limit the quality of chemistry teaching and learning. The study recommends the in servicing of chemistry teachers to give them a better orientation on what is expected of them and expose them to current methods of teaching and presenting content materials to learners. The Ministry of Education Arts, Sports and Culture should for partnerships with private sector and nongovernmental organizations to provide the necessary infrastructure and enabling environment to make chemistry education thrive.

Keywords: instructional methods, learning outcome, content coverage, assessment

1. Introduction

Today, the need to promote a society of scientifically literate citizens is regarded as urgent in many countries and is accepted as one of the main goals of science education (Jenkins, 1997). It is generally accepted that achieving functional scientific literacy involves providing People with an understanding of science that they can use as they make decisions and engage in debate about scientific and technological issues outside formal education settings (Ryder,2001). In this sense, educating for scientific literacy entails not only teaching science concepts and theories but also learning about the nature of these concepts and how they function in relation to other beliefs about the physical world (Eichinger, Abell, & Dagher, 1997)

Increasingly, scientific literacy is being described as the overall aim of science education (Bybee,1997). The teaching of chemistry therefore, as a scientific discipline must help students gain scientific literacy abilities and to grow into scientific literate citizens. Chemistry is a very important subject as its knowledge is required for the successful study in very many important professions. Because of this importance, chemistry is occupying a prime place in the senior secondary School curriculum. It is therefore necessary that students studying chemistry should understand the subject so that they can apply their knowledge to their everyday interaction with people and their ever changing environment. The Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) Advanced level chemistry syllabus for 2008 to 2012 was designed to:

* to provide, through well designed studies of experimental and practical chemistry, a worthwhile educational experience for all students, whether or not they go on to study science beyond this level and, in particular, to enable them to acquire sufficient understanding and knowledge to become confident citizens in a technological world, able to take or develop an informed interest in scientific matters.

* to stimulate students, create and sustain their interest in Chemistry, and understand its relevance to society.

* to give a thorough introduction to the study of Chemistry and scientific methods

* to develop skills and abilities that are relevant to the safe practice of science and to everyday life:concern for accuracy and precision, objectivity, integrity, the skills of enquiry, initiative and insight. …

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