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Abstract

Although there is growing interest in studies of teachers' actions and conceptions, little is known about content-related teaching problems arising in science classrooms. This article presents a case study of problems which can occur when teaching the topic of redox reactions to Grade 11 students. Two chemistry teachers, a senior and a junior teacher, were involved in the study. Their reflective comments on the teaching problems were also investigated. Research data were obtained from classroom observations and audiotaped recordings of classroom practice. After the lessons, we conducted semistructured interviews with the teachers. The teaching problems are reported in terms of teaching activities causing difficulties for students in considering new conceptions to be necessary, intelligible, plausible, or fruitful. Analyses of the teachers' comments on these teaching activities clarifies a number of reasons why they acted as they did. It can be concluded that teachers' scientific expertise is an important source of difficulties when teaching redox reactions. Implications for an improvement of current chemistry classroom practice and content-related teacher training are offered.