Exploration of students‟ perceptions on the teaching strategies in the chemistry classroom: a case study of one public secondary school in Jinja district- Uganda

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Dr. Geoff Tennant

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Mussa Mohamed


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


Chemistry is a crucial subject in the school curriculum, equipping future citizens with crucial knowledge and understanding, both in the world of work and in everyday life. Against this, literature can be found indicating that chemistry is considered to be a difficult and remote subject, hierarchical in nature, using notation which is not readily understood. The current study sought to explore students‟ perceptions on teaching strategies in the chemistry classroom, and was conducted in one rural public secondary school in Jinja District, Uganda. 100 senior 3 students completed a questionnaire asking their perceptions as to what teaching methods get used in chemistry classes, what teaching methods they prefer, and their views on the importance of chemistry.10 of these students participated in a focus group discussion. Lecture method, teacher-led demonstration, and whole class discussion were reported as the predominant teaching methods, with students doing their own experiments, group work, debate, site visits and use of ICT infrequently reported. Students indicated a desire to be taught using the full range of methods, including lecture, class discussion and demonstration. Whilst they indicated the need for freedom to express themselves, they stated that they did not think they should feel comfortable to make mistakes. More than half of the participants stated that they did not think that chemistry should be compulsory in secondary schools. The frequent use of lecture and teacher demonstration reported was attributed to the pressure to cover the relatively heavy content that the current chemistry syllabus presents, and inadequacy of chemistry laboratory facilities. The perceived difficulty of chemistry was attributed to its hierarchical and symbolic nature. To enhance students‟ interest and learning in chemistry using the existing affordable teaching methods, the curriculum needs to reflect the needs of all learners with teachers making full use of available teaching methods.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library