Strategies to enhance understanding of concepts on matter & chemical bonding by teachers’ college students.

Takawira Kazembe, Phinias Musara


This case study was carried out at a teacher training college in Masvingo. Province, Zimbabwe, 2008, to study the prevalence of misconceptions related to matter and chemical bonding by student teachers and suggest ways to enhance conceptualization. Data were collected through pen and paper tests, one-on-one interviews, focus group discussion interviews and observations. Specific questions focused on the nature of matter and chemical bonding to establish misconceptions held by the students and come up with possible intervention strategies. Twenty-one science student teachers aged between 18 and 40 years took part in the study. The sampling of people who would be participants in the study was purposive, the criterion being the potential to contribute to the case study, as revealed by performance in the pen and paper test. Triangulation of data from the various data collection procedures was carried out to validate the data and to get insight into views of the students on effective instructional strategies to enhance better conceptualization of concepts. Data collection techniques and data source triangulation ensured validity and reliability of results. Data collection and analysis were ongoing and guided the subsequent data collection procedures. Analysis revealed that most participants had misconceptions about the nature of matter and chemical bonding but the extent of the misconceptions was not clear. Subsequent data collection concentrated on the extent of the misconceptions and on how they could be eradicated. Instructional strategies that could enhance understanding of scientific concepts were suggested by the participants at the end of the study.

Key words: Chemical bonding, interviews, focus group discussion, matter, misconceptions, observations, instructional strategies, scientific concepts.

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