Undergraduate pre-service chemistry teachers’ conceptions about inorganic qualitative analysis
The research was a baseline study to determine the perceptions and alternative concepts that pre-service teachers’ have which hinder them from making correct inferences during practical inorganic chemistry experiments. A two-tier qualitative analysis diagnostic instrument (QADI) was developed and used to diagnose and treat the participants’ alternative concepts in inorganic chemistry qualitative analysis. The diagnostic instrument was administered to 78 pre-service teachers in the University of Education, Winneba, Ghana. The study revealed that students’ inabilities to make correct inferences or write and balance equations for suspected reactions correctly were the main hindrances to successful qualitative analytical activities. They often resorted to guess work. The most prevalent conceptions were their inability to predict and distinguish between chalky and gel precipitates especially when aqueous ammonia and sodium hydroxide were used on test samples. They were also unable to distinguish insoluble salts from true precipitates. A post administration of the QADI after the treatment period showed that the intervention worked positively to increase pre-service teachers’ content knowledge in inorganic chemistry and their understanding of inorganic qualitative analytical work.
Keywords: alternative concepts, content knowledge, inorganic chemistry, pre-service teachers, qualitative analysis
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