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Chemistry education (or chemical education) is a comprehensive term that refers to the study of the teaching and learning of chemistry in all schools, colleges and universities. Topics in chemistry education might include understanding how students learn chemistry, how best to teach chemistry, and how to improve learning outcomes by changing teaching methods and appropriate training of chemistry instructors, within many modes, including classroom lecture, demonstrations, and laboratory activities. There is a constant need to update the skills of teachers engaged in teaching chemistry, and so chemistry education speaks to this need.


There are at least four different philosophical perspectives that describe how the work in chemistry education is carried out. The first is what one might call a practitioner’s perspective, wherein the individuals who are responsible for teaching chemistry (teachers, instructors, professors) are the ones who ultimately define chemistry education by their actions.

A second perspective is defined by a self-identified group of chemical educators, faculty members and instructors who, as opposed to declaring their primary interest in a typical area of laboratory research (organic, inorganic, biochemistry, etc.), take on an interest in contributing suggestions, essays, observations, and other descriptive reports of practice into the public domain, through journal publications, books, and presentations. Dr. Robert L. Lichter, then-Executive Director of the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, speaking in a plenary session at the 16th Biennial Conference on Chemical Education (recent BCCE meetings: [1],[2]), posed the question “why do terms like ‘chemical educator’ even exist in higher education, when there is a perfectly respectable term for this activity, namely, ‘chemistry professor.’ One criticism of this view is that few professors bring any formal preparation in or background about education to their jobs, and so lack any professional perspective on the teaching and learning enterprise, particularly discoveries made about effective teaching and how students learn.

A third perspective is chemical education research (CER). Following the example of physics education research (PER), CER tends to take the theories and methods developed in pre-college science education research, which generally takes place in Schools of Education, and applies them to understanding comparable problems in post-secondary settings (in addition to pre-college settings). Like science education researchers, CER practitioners tend to study the teaching practices of others as opposed to focusing on their own classroom practices. Chemical education research is typically carried out in situ using human subjects from secondary and post-secondary schools. Chemical education research utilizes both quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative methods typically involve collecting data that can then be analyzed using various statistical methods. Qualitative methods include interviews, observations, journaling, and other methods common to social science research.[1]

Finally, there is an emergent perspective called The Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL).[2] Although there is debate on how to best define SoTL, one of the primary practices is for mainstream faculty members (organic, inorganic, biochemistry, etc.) to develop a more informed view of their practices, how to carry out research and reflection on their own teaching, and about what constitutes deep understanding in student learning.[3]

Work in chemistry education, then, derives from some combination of these perspectives.

Fear of chemistry classes[edit]

Chemistry courses are required for many university students, especially for students who are studying science. Some students find chemistry classes and lab work stressful.[4] This anxiety has been called chemophobia. Fears commonly center on academic performance, the difficulty of learning chemical equations, and fear of getting lab chemicals on the hands. Women students were more anxious than men. Previous exposure to learning chemistry was associated with lower anxiety.

Academic journals on chemistry education[edit]

There are many journals where papers related to chemistry education can be found or published. Historically, the circulation of many of these journals was limited to the country of publication. Some concentrate on chemistry at different education levels (schools vs. universities) while others cover all education levels. Most of these journals carry a mixture of articles that range from reports on classroom and laboratory practices to educational research.

Much research in chemistry education is also published in journals in the wider science education field.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Heady, J.E.; Coppola, B.P.; Titterington, L.C. (2001). "3. Assessment Standards". In Siebert, E.D.; McIntosh, W.J. College pathways to the science education standards. NSTA Press. pp. 57–63. ISBN 978-0-87355-193-9. 
  2. ^ Coppola, B.P. (2007). "The Most Beautiful Theories…". Journal of Chemical Education 84 (12): 1902–11. doi:10.1021/ed084p1902. 
  3. ^ Coppola, B.P.; Jacobs, D. (2002). "Is the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning New to Chemistry?". In Huber, M.T.; Morreale, S. Disciplinary styles in the scholarship of teaching and learning: exploring common ground. American Association for Higher Education. pp. 197–216. ISBN 978-1-56377-052-4. 
  4. ^ Eddy, Roberta M. (2000). "Chemophobia in the College Classroom: Extent, Sources, and Student Characteristics". Journal of Chemical Education 77 (4): 514. doi:10.1021/ed077p514. 
  5. ^ Taber, K.S. (2012). "Recognising quality in reports of chemistry education research and practice". Chemistry Education Research and Practice 13 (1): 4–7. doi:10.1039/C1RP90058G. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemistry_education — Please support Wikipedia.
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26 news items

Mon, 04 Aug 2014 09:10:40 -0700

The university recently announced that it will redesign is chemistry education program to better meet the needs of students and prepare them for careers. In a release issued by the school, Walsh announced that it would do this with support from a ...
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Tue, 12 Aug 2014 07:03:08 -0700

“Introducing these future scientists to our solutions provides an innovative way for them to draw chemical structures and encourages them to advance their chemistry education.” In his remarks at the closing ceremony, Phil McHale, product manager for ...

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Decoded Science
Sun, 03 Aug 2014 05:27:36 -0700

Advances in Chemistry Education. Students frequently utilize the Beer-Lambert law in Analytical chemistry laboratory; the principles of use are to measure the amount of a chemical substance in a watery solution. Commercial instrumentation such as a ...
PR Web (press release)
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:22:30 -0700

... degree in Chemistry from The George Washington University, a Master's degree in Chemistry from North Carolina A&T State University and a Master's and Ph.D. from The University of Maryland in science education with a focus in chemistry education.
Monroe News Star
Thu, 07 Aug 2014 07:10:32 -0700

... and Science and College of Education were recently invited to present their collaborative work and highlight their outreach partnership to colleagues from around the world at the International Conference on Chemistry Education, held in Toronto, Canada.
Hamilton Journal News (subscription)
Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:18:45 -0700

Before joining the staff at the center, Blattner worked in the Center for Chemistry Education at Miami University Middletown and for an accountant in Lebanon. Blattner said she has made lots of friends at the center, staff, volunteers and members. Now ...


Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:59:42 -0700

He has an associate's degree from Hillsborough Community College, a bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a law degree from Nova Southeastern University. She has an undergraduate degree in biology and chemistry education from ...

St. George Daily Spectrum

St. George Daily Spectrum
Mon, 11 Aug 2014 14:50:18 -0700

Team members represent several professional backgrounds including accounting, administrative assistance, agricultural inspection, auditing, building construction, chemistry, education, fire/life safety, health facility/laboratory inspection, human ...

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