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Examination of chemistry teachers' topic - specific nature of pedagogical content knowledge in electrochemistry and radioactivity /

Aydın, Sevgi
The purpose of this study was to examine topic-specific nature of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). Two experienced chemistry teachers’ PCK was examined in electrochemistry and radioactivity. To capture participants’ PCK, all PCK components were studied. To get deep and rich answers to research questions asked, qualitative methodology was used. Participants were selected through purposeful sampling. Data were gathered through card-sorting activity, Content Representation (CoRe), semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and field notes. Results revealed that participants had two types of PCK, namely, PCK A for teaching electrochemistry and PCK B for teaching radioactivity. PCK A included content-based and teacher-centered instruction, many links to other topics in chemistry and in physics. The assessment was coherent which included different types of assessment strategies used at the beginning, during, and at the end of teaching. In PCK B, it was less teacher-centered. The link to other topics was limited. Additionally, teachers used fragmented assessment and were less knowledgeable about learners’ difficulties and misconceptions in radioactivity than they were in electrochemistry. Differences between PCK A and B may be related to nature of the topics. Learners need to have much pre-requisite knowledge both from chemistry and physics to learn electrochemistry. Also, there are more concepts in electrochemistry than there are in radioactivity. It seems that when teachers have to focus on more concepts to teach, they may have a tendency to teach more-teacher centered to save time. Teacher education programs should focus on topic-specific nature of PCK and provide topic-specific training to teachers.