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Joe Oettinger, Ed.M.

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The Chemistry Classroom

Posted by Mr. Oettinger on September 20th, 2008

The Chemistry Classroom: Formulas for Successful Teaching
J. Dudley Herron (1996)

This book is a nice little gem for a chemistry teacher interested in constructivism, inquiry, and cognitive research as it applies to the chemistry classroom.  Although this book is written by a chemistry teacher, this book can be a very useful read for teachers of other sciences.  From the back cover of the book:

“This book will help researchers understand reasons that students are not learning, and it will suggest things they can do to improve the situation.”

One of the topics I found particularly interesting in this book is the Principle of Least Cognitive Effort which, simply put, “dictates that, faced with a cognitive decision, we make the choice that would appear to require the least effort over our lifetime (p. 50).”  You will immediately see why students don’t do their homework or try to memorize vocabulary or complex problem-solving tasks rather than try to understand the process.

Written like a literature review backed by the personal research and anecdotal evidence of an experienced science teacher, this book is complete in its treatment of relevant details, and is an easy and enlightening read.  Highly recommended for any science teacher interested in developing his pedagogical chops.

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