Methods Used in Creating a Student-Centered High School Chemistry Lesson

Open Access
Potts, Kristin Virginia
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
Committee Members:
  • Scott Mc Donald, Thesis Advisor
  • student-centered
  • high school
The aim of this research is to analyze the teaching methods used by a high school chemistry teacher to create a student-centered lesson. Student-centered instruction is defined as that in which students are responsible for asking scientific questions, responding to one another, and evaluating their classmates’ responses. Videotapes of the classroom instruction were analyzed using StudioCode. Two major claims were made as a result of analyzing this data. First, in many instances the teacher’s lesson was student-centered. Specifically, the students frequently asked scientific questions, responded to one another, and evaluated each other’s responses. The most prominent and effective of the teacher’s techniques was reminding the students to discuss and evaluate their classmates’ proposed ideas. However, instances occurred in which the class moved away from a student-centered learning environment. In these instances, the class fell back into the traditional I-R-E classroom discourse model, where the teacher asked questions and then evaluated student responses. Certain moves designed to encourage student-centeredness, such as the teacher’s abruptly walking away from student conversations, confused and frustrated the students and moved the class away from a student-centered learning environment.