The laboratory experiment is an important part of teaching and learning chemistry. Experiments in laboratory influence students to have better attitudes toward science and learning outcomes (Parkinson, 2004). However, most students do not like chemistry because of the requirement of analytical and constructive thinking to understand the concepts (Rickey & Stacey, 2000). One of the strategies to encourage students to think analytically is the use of metacognitive skills. Metacognitive skills allow students to understand their thinking process and concepts (Wellman, 1983 as cited in Pressley, Mac Kinno,& Waller, 1985). Therefore, metacognitive skills are important to understanding the ideas and give significant impact on problem solving in chemistry (Rickey, & Stacy, 2000). Furthermore, in the laboratory, Teachers plays an important role to environmentally educate their students (Michail, Stamou,& Stamou, 2006). For example, using green chemistry approach in school laboratory such as teacher can substitute chemical dangerous substances with the less dangerous, use small-scale laboratory equipment, and manage the waste. Those are parts of green chemistry approach, which aim to reduce chemical dangerous substances (Lancaster, 2002). It is also important to increase students’ awareness of environmental problems by involving green chemistry approach in curriculum. Therefore, I found that both metacognitive skills and green chemistry that I used improve students’ understanding in chemistry concepts and sustainability education in my laboratory. I will investigate those findings and use narrative to interpret the meaning and investigate my self-reflection.

Research Problem

The influence of metacognitive skills and green chemistry to improve students’ understanding and sustainability education in laboratory

Research Questions

1. How can metacognitive skills and green chemistry approaches be promoted in laboratory activities?

2. How can metacognitive skills improve students’ understanding of chemical concepts?

3. How can green chemistry approaches promote sustainability in laboratory experiments?

Research Method

This autoethnographic research will focus on the collection of descriptive data to explore the “dynamic picture” of the interpretation (Burns, 1996). Therefore, this research will use the methods which of narrative inquiry, interviews, and document analysis.

1. Narrative inquiry

“Narrative inquiry have at least three assumptions which are convey meanings, practical experiences, and constitutive” (Ospina & Dodge, 2005, p.414). Therefore, I will use narrative inquiry to describe my personal experiences and social interaction (Connelly & Candinin, 1988 as cited in Creswell, 2005). Narrative inquiry invites the researchers “into the research process as people with a prespective and wisdom that are worthy of hearing (Ospina & Dodge, 2005). According to Bauman (1986) as cited in Cohen, Manion, and Morrison, (2000, p.303), “stories are oral literature whose meanings forms and functions are situationally rooted cultural contexts, scenes events which give meaning to action”. Writing an ethnography also compel me “… into new and more intensive kind of analysis” (Burns, 1996, p.305). The story of personal experience will be interesting and live interaction with the readers. I also use others people story related to my research. This narrative inquiry will answer all three of my research questions. I will describe how both metacognitive and green chemistry approaches are promoted in my laboratory.

2. E-mail Interview

Email interview is a usefuI method to collect the data, especially from people in different place. Email interviews include “collecting open-ended data through interview with individuals using computers and internet” (Creswell, 2005. p.216). Through this method, I will find out other people’s opinion such as my colleagues, analytical chemistry lecturers, students, my assistants, and laboratory staff. I plan to give them email interviews to support my narrative about the findings on applying metacognitive and green chemistry. The most difficult part though is that they are all in Indonesia. I do not have to asking formal institution to explore their comments. I can ask them individually to give their comments. The best I can do here is asking them to send the data by email or post.

3. Document Analysis

Another information source is documents which include “public and private records that qualitative researchers obtain about a site or participants in a study” (Creswell, 2005, p.219). Therefore, I will analyse some official documents such as a practicum book and students’ experiment report to support my research. I get procedures from a practicum book which related to green chemistry approach such as changed the methods with less quantity of chemical substances, substituted dangerous chemical substances, recycled process, and managed the waste. The data from the practicum book will show the improvement of procedures that I have done. In addition, I will get data from students’ experiment report related to the results that my students found from experiments using green chemistry approaches. The data of experiments’ result will show that using green chemistry approaches more effective and less dangerous than previous approaches.

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