Investigating Malawian physical science teachers' teaching strategies: a case study in nuclear physics

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dc.contributor.author Lungu, Foster Chimbizgani Standford
dc.date.accessioned 2009-10-21T08:02:24Z
dc.date.available 2009-10-21T08:02:24Z
dc.date.issued 2009-10-21T08:02:24Z
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10539/7380
dc.description.abstract Malawian physical science teachers (PSTs) perceive nuclear physics to be the most difficult physics topic. This study investigated: reasons PSTs would give for this perception, teaching strategies that some PSTs would use to address learning difficulties in nuclear physics, reasons the teachers would give for using certain strategies and nature of the PSTs’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in nuclear physics. Assumptions of the interpretivist paradigm and the theoretical framework of PCK guided the data collection, organisation and analysis processes. Thirty teachers completed a questionnaire, which enabled me to identify PSTs who chose nuclear physics as the most difficult, difficult aspects of nuclear physics and reasons those aspects are difficult. Stratified purposive sampling was then used to choose four case teachers. I observed two lessons on nuclear physics for each case teacher by video recording them. I interviewed each case teacher before and after both lessons. I also interviewed a group of students after each lesson. Video recordings were discussed with the respective teachers. Some documents were collected. All interviews and video recordings were transcribed into text, coded using Atlas.ti 5.2 and analysed inductively. Content analysis was used with documents. Some learning difficulties surface during lessons and they mainly related to student conceptions, nature of concepts and mathematical manipulations. The case teachers could not anticipate most of them, irrespective of qualification. It would seem the teachers were hardly aware of lesson-specific difficulties. The case teachers used combinations of strategies that focused on transmission of information. The teachers hardly probed student thinking. Reasons given for strategies adopted revealed that qualified teachers emphasised only content while the under-qualified ones also emphasised pedagogy. iv Also qualified case teachers ascertained student understanding more frequently than the less qualified ones. Also one of the qualified teachers was able to articulate main ideas of the lessons, while the other three could hardly do so. I conclude that teachers with similar characteristics as those studied here need assistance to develop the following aspects of PCK in nuclear physics: awareness of learning difficulties, use of strategies that are based on student thinking and ability to articulate main ideas. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Teaching Strategies en_US
dc.subject Learning Difficulties en_US
dc.subject Nuclear Physics en_US
dc.subject Pedagogical Content Knowledge en_US
dc.title Investigating Malawian physical science teachers' teaching strategies: a case study in nuclear physics en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US


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