Teaching and Learning of Chemistry: The Hybridity of Third Space Approach
This article explored diversity and hybridity in the third space as a teaching resource. Students bring to the classroom or third space their diverse sociocultural issues, knowledge levels of chemistry, and socioeconomic status. Educators also bring to the third space their university knowledge and culture. Hence, a classroom or third space is a hybrid. The intersection of the students’ activity systems and educators’ activity systems created a third space. Activity systems are social practices that include the norms, values, divisions of labour, and community goals. The study intended to explore the negotiations by chemistry educators and first-year students in teaching-learning of acids-bases reactions. It is a topic that most students experience challenges from secondary school to graduate level. Acids-bases are one of the threshold concepts. Qualitative research was employed in the study. Data were collected through classroom observations. A thematic approach was employed to analyse data. Five chemistry educators and their classes were purposely sampled. Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) was employed to unpack group dynamics in a Zambian university. Interactions in the learning spaces generated constraints, tensions, diversity, and affordances for both educators and students. The findings suggest that hybridity may be a resource in teaching acids-bases threshold concepts. Educators should understand students’ knowledge and cultural diversities. Researchers can investigate how students’ different acids-bases knowledge levels can promote success in chemistry.
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