Extensiveness and perceptions of lecture demonstrations in the high school chemistry classroom
While lecture demonstrations have been conducted in chemistry classrooms for hundreds of years, little research exists to document the frequency with which such demonstrations are employed or their effect on learners' motivation and performance. A mixed-methods research study was performed, using quantitative and qualitative survey data, along with qualitative data from follow-up interviews and structured email correspondence. Fifty-two randomly selected chemistry teachers completed a survey regarding their present and projected use of classroom demonstrations. Twelve of the survey participants provided elaboration in the form of an extended questionnaire. Data indicate that all except one of the survey participants currently employ lecture demonstrations, and all anticipate performing the same number of, or more, demonstrations in their future instruction. Extended questionnaire and survey data reveal that the participating chemistry teachers perceive substantial positive effects on students’ performance on classroom assignments and a lesser, though still positive, effect, on learners' motivation. No correlations were observed between the number of lecture demonstrations performed and educators' years of experience teaching chemistry, previous exposure to demonstrations, or undergraduate degrees earned.