Teacher style and concept development in a chemistry ordinary level programme in Malaysia
Do chemistry teachers 'bring' into their instruction all the
relevant variables or important predictors for concept
development revealed by contemporary research? Do they
organize and sequence their lessons in such a way as to help
pupils learn? Is the scientific language utilized by chemistry
teachers in the secondary schools appropriate to pupils'
experience? In an attempt to answer these vital questions, 44
sample lessons of 20 chemistry teachers, randomly selected from
19 secondary schools in the state of Malacca, Malaysia were
analysed using the 'Concept Instruction Category System' (CICS).
The results suggested that this sample of teachers scarcely
use most of the conventional determinants - especially instances
and definitions of the concept - during the delivery of their
instruction. Teaching appeared to be more relevant to concrete
concept learning rather than to abstract concepts which are
common in formal (chemistry) school learning. This sample of
teachers relied on their instruction in demonstrating the use of
concepts, describing/illustrating the concepts, and discussing
the procedures of how to investigate the concepts in question.
During these processes of teaching, teachers guided pupils to
foster facilitition of concept understanding.
The sample of teachers emphasized demonstrating (the use of
concept), eliciting, and feedback strategies, as a primary
teaching cycle, which was supported and reinforced by using
corrective-feedback and guidance tactics. Unfortunately,
teachers used scientific language that presented only
situational meaning rather than abstract meaning.
In general, this sample of teachers emphasized fact-giving
with some experimental activities that were extremely didactic
and teacher dominated. Despite the 'transmission nature' of
instruction employed by this sample of teachers, generally they
did sequence instructional events according to models for the
internal process of learning. The sequential order of
instructional events suggested in the model are more relevant
for teaching a small unit or part of a lesson plan.
The application of a cluster analysis technique revealed
three predominant styles of teaching in this sample of teachers
- i. e., styles 1,11 , and in, each having distinctive
characteristics, although there were overlapping and shared
qualities between the groups. In a comparative study, a number
of dominant features of the three styles, especially
experimental activities, fact-giving and teacher domination,
were similar to some samples from Britain, Canada, Kenya and
Some implications of the findings for chemistry (or science)
teacher education and school teaching in Malaysia are suggested,
limitations are cited and some suggestions for further research
are put forward.