Learning to teach chemical bonding: A framework for preservice teacher educators

Tim H.H. van Dulmen*, Talitha C. Visser, Fer G.M. Coenders, Birgit Pepin, Susan McKenney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Chemical bonding is an important topic which is difficult to teach well, especially for novices. This study set out to support preservice teacher educators by developing a framework for understanding and addressing the complexity of teaching chemical bonding. A model of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in science education that has been widely endorsed by experts in the field was adopted as the theoretical lens. First, a systematic literature review was performed to articulate what recent empirical studies can tell us about the knowledge teachers require to teach chemical bonding. The review corpus consisted of 59 articles published over the past 20 years relating to four components of PCK: knowledge of how chemical bonding is embedded in curricula, knowledge of student understanding related to this topic, knowledge of instructional strategies and representations for teaching chemical bonding, and knowledge related to the assessment of chemical bonding understanding. This yielded current collective PCK for teaching chemical bonding in chemistry teacher education. Next, nine chemistry teacher educators were asked to portray their own personal knowledge for teaching chemical bonding through content representations. Analysis of the content representations revealed differences between several aspects of the collective PCK derived from the literature and the personal PCK articulated by our sample of Dutch chemistry teacher educators. Finally, findings from the literature and the teacher educator content representations were synthesized into a framework for chemistry teacher educators. Uses of the framework are discussed, and sample applications to the design of classroom activities are offered. Finally, implications of the findings and suggestions for future research are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)896-913
Number of pages18
JournalChemistry education : research and practice
Issue number3
Early online date21 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2023


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