What makes a great teacher?
Madeleine Schultz from QUT and Gwen Lawrie from UQ with research assistants Bronwin Dargaville and Chantal Bailey have spent the past two years investigating teaching strategies within the framework of pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). PCK can be loosely defined as ways of teaching specific content, including the choice of representations, examples and analogies along with an understanding of typical student difficulties. While there is a vast body of research into PCK at the secondary level and it is explicitly taught and practiced, PCK has been less investigated at the tertiary level. In this project, workshops and interviews about teaching strategies were conducted to collate PCK from the chemistry community. The resulting data was coded and a website was built, chemnet.edu.au/chem-pck, which distills the specific teaching strategies that are used for particular topics in chemistry and can be searched by chemistry topic or type of teaching strategy. We also collected many insightful quotes from recognised expert teachers in different areas of chemistry. Combining these with the current educational literature led to the development of a series of seven steps to enhance teaching that are applicable in any discipline.