PhD: The occurrence of erroneous notions in textbooks and chemistry teaching in Macedonia and possibility for their elimination

Marina Stojanovska
Institute of Chemistry, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje, Macedonia
January, 2013


A research concerning the presence of some erroneous notions (misconceptions) among primary- and high-school students was conducted in this thesis. The study deals with misconceptions from different chemistry areas and attention was paid to the misunderstandings related to the vague ideas of the relationship between the macro and micro world. An attempt was made to identify the origin of these misconceptions, to state the possibilities for their correction as well as to give some suggestions for progress in the chemistry teaching.

The purpose of this study was to address and face the potential misunder¬standings among students and to prepare suitable intervention programs to fight the misconceptions. Intervention programs consisted of laboratory activities, animations, molecular models, video materials and discussions.

Qualitative methods, such as interviewing techniques, were applied and were very useful in gaining in-depth notions about students’ knowledge. The research also involved questionnaires (chemistry concept inventories in a pre-test–post-test design) that were used to follow the improvement of students. The collected data were further analysed using the software package Predictive Analytics SoftWare (PASW) 18.0.

The result of the study was that many misconceptions were detected, but, fortunately, they were reduced after the conducted intervention programs. It was found that the results in the post-test were significantly higher than those in the pre-tests which proved that the intervention programs were efficient, applicable and appropriate for teaching. However, а few misconceptions were still present in the post-tests, thus confirming the existence of difficulties in the process of ironing-out mis¬conceptions.

We honestly hope that this research will be of great help for all present and future chemistry teachers in their lesson planning and preparing effective tests for their students. Surely, the textbook authors could also benefit from this research and make some interventions in order to present the material more clearly and more precisely where necessary.