Teachers' professional growth during the development and class enactment of context-based chemistry student learning material

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In 2002, a committee installed by the Ministry of Education concluded that four main problems regarding the high school chemistry curriculum necessitate a major curriculum renewal. A year later the following three recommendations for such a new curriculum were formulated: (a) the chemistry content should appeal to all students, not just to those who want to pursue a career in chemistry; (b) contemporary chemistry and societal challenges should be included in the curriculum; (c) a context-based approach, meaning that students acquire concepts starting from an appealing context, should form the basis of the curriculum. Teachers are crucial when it comes to a curriculum renewal as they are the ones to implement a new curriculum through enactment in their classrooms. Teachers therefore need to understand the new curriculum, to be professionally prepared for an adequate use of new subject matter and embedded pedagogical knowledge, and have to be able to use the new curriculum materials in an adequate manner. The National Steering Committee responsible for the development of the new curriculum recognizes this crucial role teachers have in the implementation process and proposes to involve teachers from the beginning in the renewal, both through participation in the development process as teacher-developers as well as through class enactment of materials developed by colleagues. It is supposed that participation will act as a learning process for the teachers involved, in which teachers are going to acquire knowledge, beliefs and skills, both in the field of the subject matter they are teaching as well as in the pedagogy. The overall research question of this study is fourfold: (a) what are chemistry teachers’ beliefs about the chemistry curriculum and about their roles, about the teacher as developer, and about professional development; (b) how do chemistry teachers professionally change, in other words what changes in knowledge and beliefs arise, when teachers are involved in the development and subsequent class enactment of innovative student learning material for the context-based approach; (c) how do teachers professionally change when they merely enact this material in their classes; and (d) what model is suitable to understand and interpret the observed changes in knowledge and beliefs.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • Dijkstra, S., Supervisor
  • Pieters, Julius Marie, Supervisor
  • Terlouw, C., Supervisor
Award date26 May 2010
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-3009-5
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2010


  • IR-71370


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