An Investigation into the Use of the Concept Attainment Model in Teaching the “Periodic Table” at ‘O’-Level Through an Action Research

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Abstract

The present study was based on the use of the concept attainment model (CAM) in the teaching of the topic “Periodic Table” at the ‘O’-level, in an attempt to investigate its impact on students’ understanding and on students’ motivation and interest during the lessons. The research was carried out in a girls’ State Secondary School in a village located in the northern region of Mauritius. The sample consisted of 44 girls of age 14–15 years, who were preparing to sit for the ‘O’-level Cambridge International Examinations in November 2009. The study was carried out through an action research involving three cycles. Data were collected through observation checklists, achievement tests, students’ questionnaire and a group interview. Results from the study have revealed that use of CAM has motivated the students, and increased their level of participation during the lessons. Our findings have also shown that use of the model has enhanced conceptual understanding and helped to improve students’ performance in the topic “Periodic Table”. Most interestingly, we have also found that students were better able to identify the attributes of the concepts when varied resources and strategies were used to present the exemplars and non exemplars. Thus we would recommend that for successful implementation of the CAM in classroom teaching, educators should continuously vary the ways of presenting the exemplars and non-exemplars.