Developing Instructional Materials that Address Challenges Facing Teachers in Secondary School Chemistry Investigative Practical Work; A Case of Kajiado County, Kenya
Ituma, Monica Gakii
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Secondary school Chemistry teachers use various instructional materials to guide the teaching of Chemistry practical work. Many of them however face some challenges in their endeavor to implement investigative type of practical work in their classes. They often require instructional materials that would support the implementation of learner-centred investigative practical work. The purpose of this study was to develop a model of exemplary instructional materials that can support secondary school Chemistry teachers in engaging learners in investigative practical work by addressing the challenges they faced when teaching practical work. The study is based on constructivist theory of learning which proposes meaningful learning by construction of knowledge gained through context-rich, experience-based activities. The study used Design Based Research (DBR) design methods for analysis, design, development and evaluation of the exemplary materials. DBR uses iterative design to develop workable interventions in educational practice. Forty two (42) government secondary schools in Kajiado County formed the target population. Baseline data revealed that teachers needed support in content knowledge, scientific practices, scientific literacy practices and teaching strategies for participation practices and for assessment of learning. Instructional materials for a total of six lessons were designed as derived from the Form one Chemistry topic on acids, bases and indicators. The first prototype of materials designed was appraised by 47 chemistry teachers in pre-service training, three experienced Chemistry teachers and two Science Education experts from the University. The feedback was used to redesign and refine the materials producing the second level prototype which was tried out by three other teachers with their Form one students. Feedback gathered from the try-out was used to re-design and refine the instructional materials leading to production of a third level prototype that was used by five teachers as the practicality and effectiveness of the materials was evaluated. Lesson observation, teacher‘s logbook, teacher interviews, learner questionnaire and concept maps were used to determine the practicality and effectiveness of the materials in a classroom set-up. The instructional materials were found to contain guidelines that teachers could use in guiding learners through investigative practical work. Teachers indicated that their objectives were achieved and learners were motivated to learn chemistry and were able to understand the concepts. The feedback was used to redesign the materials thus developing the final model of exemplary materials. The structure of such materials was detailed and a model for the development of instructional materials for investigative practical work referred to as Secondary Chemistry Investigative Practical Work (SCIPW) proposed. Chemistry teachers can use the model to develop materials that guide them through use of learner centred strategies in practical work. Developers of instructional materials should also use such experimental structures that support investigative practical work.