Enhancing students understanding of chemical bonding through inquiry - based teaching

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (M. Ed.)


Institute for Educational Development, Karachi


This action research reports on the process and findings of a study undertaken in a private school that aimed at enhancing students’ understanding of chemical bonding using inquiry-based teaching (IBT). The concept of ‘chemical bonding’ is fundamental in teaching chemistry; and therefore, a thorough understanding of it is essential to understand other topics in chemistry. Research studies have shown that due to the traditional pedagogical approaches for teaching chemical bonding, high school students around the world lack fundamental understanding of chemical bonding (Nahum, Mamlok-Naaman, Hofstein, & Krajcik, 2007). This is true of Pakistani science teachers also who mostly apply the traditional way of teaching in the classrooms. As a result of traditional way of teaching, conceptual understanding of students does not occur. Therefore, employing action research methodology based on the Kemmis, MC Taggart and Retallick (2004) model, this study was conducted to explore how IBT enhances students’ conceptual understanding of chemical bonding of lower secondary students in a private school in Karachi (Pakistan). Altogether six lessons were taught in three cycles in the participant class. Data were collected through observations, personnel reflections, pre- and post-tests, interview and informal discussions. Data were analysed qualitatively and findings revealed that IBT enhanced students’ conceptual understanding of covalent bonding significantly and improvement in students’ achievements was seen in the post-test. This study also highlighted the promoting and hindering factors in the implementation of IBT in a lower secondary class in a private school. The study has implications for science teachers as well as teacher educators in their teaching of science generally and chemistry particularly. The study also presents recommendations for future studies.

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