NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ764422
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Jun
Pages: 18
Abstractor: Author
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0950-0693
Explanations and Teleology in Chemistry Education
Talanquer, Vicente
International Journal of Science Education, v29 n7 p853-870 Jun 2007
It has been commonly assumed that teleological explanations are unnecessary and have no place in the physical sciences. However, there are indications that teleology is fairly common in the instructional explanations of teachers and students in chemistry classrooms. In this study we explore the role and nature of teleological explanations and the conditions that seem to warrant their use in chemistry education. We also analyse the learning implications of developing explanations of chemical phenomena within a teleological stance. Our study is based on the qualitative analysis of the instructional explanations presented in traditional chemistry textbooks used in the United States. Our results indicate that teleological explanations are in fact present in these textbooks and help provide an explanatory reason for the occurrence of chemical transformations. Their use is tightly linked to the existence of a rule, principle, or law that governs the behaviour of a chemical system, and that explicitly or implicitly implies the minimisation or maximisation of some intrinsic property. This law or principle tends to provide a sense of preferred direction in the evolution of a transformation. Although teleological explanations seem to have heuristic pedagogical value in chemistry education, they may also lead students to develop alternative conceptions and unwarranted overgeneralisations.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States