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Using the curriculum emphasis concept to investigate teachers' curricular beliefs in the context of educational reform

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This paper reports a study on teachers' domain-specific beliefs about the chemistry curriculum for upper-secondary education in The Netherlands. Teachers' beliefs were investigated using a questionnaire focused on the goals of the chemistry curriculum. The design of the questionnaire was based on three curriculum emphases: 'fundamental chemistry', 'chemistry, technology and society', and 'knowledge development in chemistry'. The questionnaire was administered to a sample of Dutch chemistry teachers. The results indicate that, on the whole, the curriculum emphasis 'fundamental chemistry' received the strongest support. This is in accordance with the content and the tradition of the Dutch chemistry curriculum. When the two types of upper-secondary education were compared, it appeared that 'chemistry, technology and society' was almost equally valued for both types of education. However, the curriculum emphasis, 'knowledge development in chemistry', was considered much more important for pre-university education than for senior general secondary education.

Keywords: chemistry teachers; curriculum reform; science education; teacher knowledge

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2007

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