Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Ronald Good

Abstract

Prominent in the agenda of science education research nowadays are studies focusing on the science teacher/professor. Consequently, this study focuses on a particular chemistry professor at Louisiana State University. He was chosen because of his outstanding and award-winning teaching activities; his voluntary workshops for area high school chemistry teachers; and his active involvement with a college chemistry curriculum reform committee, serving as chairman of the committee. Additionally, his continuing accomplishments and engagements with inorganic chemistry research activities are noteworthy. He was studied for three semesters in his teaching of introductory level chemistry to a large freshman class and his teaching of upper level chemistry to graduates and senior undergraduates as well as during his interactions with his own graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Other activities aimed at educational efforts at the precollege level and the overall academic environment of the area are included. As a qualitative case study, it employs the interpretive methods of participant interviewing; field-note taking in and outside the classroom, from participant observations; collection of documents/artifacts from the professor's classes. This case study provided new insights/findings concerning excellence in college chemistry teaching, which includes the following: (a) Cooperative group work among students taking college chemistry courses, especially introductory level courses, promoted some significant academic, personal and social as well as other affective outcomes necessary for college students to succeed in chemistry. (b) Frequent use of history and philosophy of chemistry in college chemistry classrooms as well as numerous references to current human and societal efforts in chemistry was well embraced by students and as such sustained their interest in chemistry learning. (c) The use of multiple traditional and non-traditional assessment techniques adequately accommodated the learning needs/styles of the diverse student population in the classroom. (d) The overall establishment of a non-threatening and accommodative learning environment appeared to be a crucial factor in success at recruiting and retaining students in chemistry. Based upon the findings, it is recommended, among others, that research activities and instructional activities in college chemistry departments need to be equally embraced and should not be dichotomized.

Pages

156

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