Teaching chemistry here and abroad: differences and similarities
Comparing teaching chemistry in Russian and foreign educational institutions it is possible to consider some special methods, the USA being taken as a concrete example of teaching system abroad at this stage.
Direct instructions are the most common and generally used form of teaching widely exploited both in the USA and this country. It implies a lecturing method of teaching, too many academics preferring only this teaching device. However, this educational technology does not seem to be the most effective teaching method to be suitable for all students.
Inquiry-based learning describes various approaches to learning that are based on the investigation of questions, scenarios or problems. Based on the scientific method, this teaching device can be easily used for practically all subjects. Students practise and develop problem solving and critical thinking skills to arrive at conclusions. In the USA this method is rapidly gaining popularity, in Russia it being not so widespread.
Cooperative learning is another teaching method that proves to be highly effective when done correctly. Students are arranged into small groups to work together in teams. This form of instruction lends itself especially well to differentiation as the teacher can assign specific tasks to the audience according to their different language aptitude levels.
Another educational technology, the so called case study method of teaching, is very popular in medical, business and law schools. These disciplines have had a long tradition of considering and analyzing true or imaginary stories as cases to teach students in the mentioned scientific areas. The case study simulation develops and improves students’ problem solving skills and confirm interdisciplinary knowledge.
Concept mapping chemistry is another effective tool in teaching chemistry as it helps students systematize and visualize interrelationships among a set of connected concepts and ideas.
Predict-Observe-Explain strategy is a very useful teaching method to interpret an experiment demonstration or a model. This method is more preferable in the USA than in Russia.
Workshops and problem-based learning pursue the object to give students an opportunity to perform research in an area of chemistry with the help of an ill-structured or open-ended problem.
Comparing modern educational technologies and methods of teaching chemistry here and abroad it is obvious that teaching process in Russia meets all international standards and possesses just several numbers of national differences.