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ERIC Number: EJ832508
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Apr
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
The Adverse Effects of Le Chatelier's Principle on Teacher Understanding of Chemical Equilibrium
Cheung, Derek
Journal of Chemical Education, v86 n4 p514-518 Apr 2009
Although the scientific inadequacy of Le Chatelier's principle has long been documented in the literature, the principle is still treated as a central concept of chemical equilibrium by textbook writers and teachers in many countries. In the past, researchers' interest has focused on student misconceptions about chemical equilibrium and has neglected teacher misconceptions. This study aimed to determine how Le Chatelier's principle adversely affects teachers' ability to solve chemical equilibrium problems. This area of research is critically important because teachers cannot help their students understand what they themselves do not understand. In this study, a misconception test was developed and administered to a sample of 33 secondary chemistry teachers in Hong Kong. The test consisted of three open-ended chemical equilibrium questions. Analysis of teacher responses revealed that most of the 33 teachers failed the test as they relied on Le Chatelier's principle rather than the equilibrium law to tackle the three chemical equilibrium problems. Teachers' misconceptions about chemical equilibrium were categorized. Implications of these findings for chemistry teacher education and selection of curriculum content for school chemistry are discussed. (Contains 3 tables.)
Division of Chemical Education of the American Chemical Society. Subscription Department, P.O. Box 1267, Bellmawr, NJ 08099-1267. Tel: 800-691-9846; Tel: 856-931-5825; Fax: 856-931-4115; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Hong Kong