The place of subject matter knowledge in pedagogical content knowledge: A case study of South African teachers teaching the amount of substance and chemical equilibrium

Marissa Rollnick, Judith Bennett, Mariam Rhemtula, Nadine Dharsey, Thandi Ndlovu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper presents two South African case studies designed to explore the influence of subject matter knowledge on pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). In the first case study on teaching the mole in two township schools, the findings illustrate that the participant teachers favoured procedural approaches at the expense of conceptual understanding. The second case study examines the teaching of chemical equilibrium to students on a bridging programme in a tertiary institution. Through these data the authors present a model to assist in understanding the amalgamation of subject matter knowledge (SMK) with other teacher knowledge domains to produce what we describe as 'manifestations'. The model was useful in interpreting the teachers' practice, especially to highlight the role of SMK, and therefore offers interesting insights into the nature of PCK and its influence on science teaching.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1365-1387
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Science Education
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 13 Aug 2008

Bibliographical note

Special Issue:Developments and Challenges in Researching Science Teachers' Pedagogical Content Knowledge: An international perspective


  • MOLE

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