The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Do German Chemistry Textbooks Foster Metacognitive Skills?

Christian Kressmann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)

Rüdiger Tiemann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Germany)


Science education is as important to acquire creative problem-solving skills as language class is for reading skills, as the research process itself is creative problem-solving [1]. Chemistry Education is a suitable agent to foster it alongside domain knowledge. But what looks this competence like and how is it taught? We investigated how tasks foster creative problem-solving skills, and analyzed 700 tasks in German Chemistry textbooks from grades 7-12. A coding manual, based on the CPS 6.1™ Framework [2], provided four categories: Complexity of tasks (‘Is this an open or closed problem?’), Metacognition (‘May students plan their own approach to solve the problem?), Generating Ideas (‘How creative may solutions be?’) and Instruction (‘How concrete are instructions to solve the problem?’).  Coding metacognition had a 100% match of both coders (k = 1) although reliability was only between sufficient and good in 3 of the 4 categories (.44 to .64) [3].  We concluded that none of the exercises from the textbooks encouraged the student 1) to use metacognition while solving the problem, 2)  to engage in creative processes. Teachers thus are stuck between a rock and a hard place: they have to rely on these textbooks to plan their lessons – often copy-pasting whole tasks, but they also have to teach creative problem-solving - a must-have 21st century skill, where metacognition plays a lead role for creativity [3],[4].  Our textbook analysis lead to a first survey; in future studies we will investigate how creative problem-solving – especially a call for metacognition – is deployed in day-to-day classroom practice.

Keywords: Chemistry Education, Creative Problem-Solving, Metacognition, Task analysis, CPS 6.1™-Framework.


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