Structured Choices to Learn Chemistry

Using Structured Choices to Learn Chemistry

I have been reading this book recently, by Dr Petunia Lee.

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The first strategy she mentioned is giving the child structured choices. This gives the impression that he or she is the one who made the decision, who chose to do whatever the action is. The trick here is to offer limited choices (decided by us of course) within the scope of what you want the child to achieve.

The example given by Dr Lee is letting the child have the choice of deciding what books he or she wants to read. Now behind that choice is a number of no-choice. The child HAS to read, the books are already selected, so there is no choice of genre. So once the child has decided on which book interests him/her, they are more likely to read it willingly. 

How do we use Structured Choices to Learn Chemistry? 

As parents and educators, we can use every opportunity we have to offer structured choices to the child/student. Additionally, we would need to respect the choices that they do make. This is to build trust and emotional capital that we can use later on i.e. exam period. 

A common way we prep the students in JC 2 is to give them some leeway during CCA competition periods. After which we will remind the students that since they chose to focus on their CCA in term 2, they would need to study extra hard in term 3 to catch up for Prelims.

Sometimes i would let the class decide when they wanted to take the quiz. It really doesn’t matter when they take it but it gives them autonomy and the impression of choice.


It is also important to slowly train the child/student to learn how to make choices, meaning we will have to guide them along. For example, we start by offering them very restricted choices. Then slowly increase the autonomy the child has in the choices. (Remember not to give them TOO many choices, it will lead to decision-paralysis.) Be sure to set some ground rules and check the child’s choice if they have not chosen wisely.

Patience is needed to slowly let the child build up his/her judgement in decision-making. We need to show support and encouragement if they have made a wise choice.

Caution is needed not to give false choices and then coerce the child to pick your choice.

There you have it, use Structured Choices to Learn Chemistry (or anything else)! Go to Strategy #2 Emotional Connection to Learn Chemistry!

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