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Chemistry Textbook Approaches to Chemical Equilibrium and Student Alternative Conceptions

M.A. Pedrosa, M.H. Dias

In the field of chemistry there has been considerable interest in discovering the reasons why many students have great difficulty in successfully developing a scientifically accepted understanding of chemical equilibrium. Research projects influenced and inspired by constructivism have been invaluable for identifying alternative conceptions that may turn into obstacles to meaningful learning of fundamental ideas regarding chemical equilibrium. Research findings provide evidence that misunderstandings of and related to chemical equilibrium are widespread at various levels of education, including prospective chemistry teachers. Language used in textbooks may give rise, or reinforce student alternative conceptions and research findings point to a direct relationship between language used in textbooks and some of the alternative conceptions students develop at various levels of school chemistry. Some of the students' alternative conceptions already identified, and available in literature, were the basis of an instrument devised to analyse chemistry textbooks used in secondary and tertiary education. This paper presents and discusses typical problematic language found in student textbooks in the light of students' current frameworks of understanding as described in literature.

Chemical Education: Research and Practice in Europe 1(2), 227-236 (2000)

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