|The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT) Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) repository holds full-text theses and dissertations submitted for higher degrees at the University (including submissions from former Cape Technikon and Peninsula Technikon).|
The use of concept mapping to enhance the teaching of chemical equilibrium in a Grade 12 physical science tutoring classroom
There is currently a strong emphasis on the teaching of Physical Sciences in the school system. The National Department of Education has established Dinaledi schools to address this situation to increase the number of learners taking Physical Sciences as one of their school subjects and to also increase the number of passes in the subject. Furthermore, Physical Sciences learners struggle to understand certain scientific concepts and develop alternative ideas about these concepts that have a negative influence on further development of other integrated science concepts. The thesis proposes the importance of developing concept mapping to enhance the teaching of topics in a Physical Sciences classroom. The research focused on the chemical equilibrium in a Grade 12 Physical Sciences tutoring classroom. This happened in a group setting, with learners enrolling with the specific aim of improving their marks for Physical Sciences as one of the important gateway subjects for entrance to tertiary education. The research focused on their prior knowledge of the topic and how they understood the topic. Using social constructivism as underpinning theoretical framework, and conceptual change theory, learners were taken through a process to identify and rectify their alternative ideas on chemical equilibrium. In this, perspective learning is seen as a social process in which learners actively participate and contribute with their understanding and arguments. The research was carried out in a science tutoring classroom and focused on three groups from secondary schools in the Paarl Valley, Drakenstein area, Western Cape, South Africa. The groups were taught and observed in the science tutoring classroom with special attention to data collection in order to capture their thinking and work on the topic. Data were collected by means of concept mapping, where each learner completed a minimum of three or maximum of four concept maps. Within each concept map, learners connected key concepts of the topic with one another. Each concept map identified the learner‟s prior knowledge as well as any alternative ideas created by using existing frameworks. Data were analysed using a rubric to determine each concept map‟s quality. Conclusions were that learners became actively involved in the process of concept mapping as well as learning. There were no definite differences between higher performing and lower performing learners. As for the enhanced teaching aspect, alternative ideas were identified quickly using the concept maps; these were centred on the individual learner, and were not general.