American Journal of Educational Research
ISSN (Print): 2327-6126 ISSN (Online): 2327-6150 Website: http://www.sciepub.com/journal/education Editor-in-chief: Ratko Pavlović
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American Journal of Educational Research. 2018, 6(10), 1438-1444
DOI: 10.12691/education-6-10-15
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Evaluating Secondary School Biology Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Grade 10 Learners’ Understanding of Respiration: Case of Chipata District, Zambia

Thumah Mapulanga1, and David Chituta2

1Department of Natural Sciences, Gondar Day Secondary School, Chipata, Zambia

2Department of Mathematics and Science Education, School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, The Copperbelt University, Kitwe, Zambia

Pub. Date: November 01, 2018

Cite this paper:
Thumah Mapulanga and David Chituta. Evaluating Secondary School Biology Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Grade 10 Learners’ Understanding of Respiration: Case of Chipata District, Zambia. American Journal of Educational Research. 2018; 6(10):1438-1444. doi: 10.12691/education-6-10-15

Abstract

This study evaluated Secondary School Biology Teachers’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) and Grade 10 learners’ understanding of Respiration. This was on the premise that effective PCK could help to improve learners’ conceptual understanding of respiration. However, there is a lack of empirical evidence backing the relationship between PCK and students’ understanding of respiration concepts. A total of 11 teachers and 84 grade 10 learners were drawn from six schools in Chipata district, Zambia. The teachers’ PCK was measured from lesson plans, lesson planning interviews and learners’ questionnaires while students’ understanding of respiration was measured using the Respiration Content Test. Quantitative data were analysed using SPSS by computing means, standard deviations, t-tests, and F-tests while lesson planning interviews were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim for further qualitative analysis. The results showed that the teachers demonstrated good pedagogical knowledge (M = 3.30, SD = 1.31) and content knowledge (M = 3.32, SD = 1.00) although their knowledge of students was poor (M = 2.05, SD = 1.20). The learners have a positive perception of teachers’ PCK although males have a higher positive perception that teachers meet their learning needs (M = 3.948, SD = 0.697) than females (M = 3.542, SD = 0.213); t(54) = 3.742, p< 0.001. Learners’ knowledge of respiration is good (M = 61.81%, SD = 37.74) although they generally had difficulties answering questions of higher order demand. The findings imply that teachers of biology need to consider learners’ prior knowledge and learning difficulties in their lessons in order to provide inclusive and equitable quality education. Policymakers and administrators should reinforce training programs aimed at enriching in-service teachers’ PCK. Future studies need to show how specific teaching methods can be used to help students overcome their learning difficulties and misconceptions about respiration.

Keywords:
pedagogical knowledge content knowledge knowledge of students respiration

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