My PhD required the writing of a dissertation. It involved Educational Psychology, which I was specialising in, combined with the learning and teaching of a topic in secondary school Chemistry. The study contributed to our theoretical understanding of learning and teaching and at the same time had implications for the enhancement of the teaching and learning in the Chemistry classroom. Hence the title of the dissertation, which was:

Mental representation of knowledge for a topic in high school Chemistry

The research for the dissertation was done in Hong Kong after the course-work requirements had been completed at Stanford. The subjects for the research came from a Form 4 Chemistry class at a local secondary school in Shatin, Hong Kong. The study included both qualitative and quantitative research methodology.

Pre-dissertation course paper

When seeking out possible areas of research for my dissertation, I wrote a paper in a course dealing with mental models that people have, especially in the domain of Science. The paper included a mental model that Leonie, then 5 years of age, might have had of the internal parts of the human body. The picture on the right shows a drawing by Leonie (of my course teacher!) - refer to the course paper for details. Also, you can click on the picture at the right to get an enlarged view.

Mental Modelling in Children:

Click here to view the paper Same paper (in file viewer)


Ph.D. dissertation

The published dissertation is well over 500 pages in length, which necessitated two volumes! I have included links to view the dissertation but it may not open or may take a long time. It may also depend on the browser you use. However, a detailed abstract of the dissertation is available, which gives a very good description of what was involved. To view the abstract, click on the following link:

Click here to view the dissertation abstract

Same abstract (in file viewer) [If necessary, click the toggle sidebar (at top left) to see the whole page.]


Click here to view the complete dissertation online

Click here to view the complete dissertation in the file viewer

There is more on the dissertation in the section entitled Projects, which you will see at the top of the page in the navigation bar.

Academic Articles

The Chinese University School (later Faculty) of Education is both an academic, research-oriented institution, as well as a professional school, involved in the training of teachers. During my years there, I wrote a number of articles, many of which had some sort of practical implications for teaching and/or learning. Many of the articles are mine alone while some were written in collaboration with others or with research students of mine.


Some of the articles were published in more prestigious journals, others less so. Here are three journals that contain articles of mine:


International Journal of Science Education


Journal of Educational Computing Research


Education Journal (of the CUHK)


Here I will briefly describe some, though not all, of the articles under a variety of rather general headings.


Microteaching is used in the training of specific teaching skills. It involves teaching a 'micro' (brief) topic for a 'micro' (short) time to just a 'micro' (small) group of students. Click on the links.

1. Microteaching: A Bilingual Approach

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2. Bilingual Microteaching: An analysis of Questioning Skills

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3. Experience or Formal Training? An analysis of pre-service and in-service teacher performances

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Image taken from my class notes on microteaching; not part of the articles.

Problem solving in Science

These are articles that derived primarily from the work I did for my dissertation. Click on the links to view.

1. Expert-Novice Differences in the Solving of a Basic Problem in Chemistry

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  1. Procedural and conceptual knowledge of expert and novice students for the solving of a basic problem in Chemistry.

Click here to view just the abstract

For the complete article, click here. Same article (in file viewer)

3. Quantitative Problem Solving in Science: Cognitive Factors and Directions for Practice

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Concrete Thinking in Children

This is an earlier article based on the theories of the Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget. Note: It was later translated into Turkish by a university professor in Turkey and used for a similar investigation there.

Concrete Thinking Abilities among Hong Kong Junior Secondary Pupils

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Cartoon comes from a question from a test used in the study - refer to article.


Cartoon used as an example of the 'keyword' method - refer to article.

Teaching English to Chinese-speaking Students

These are articles from research I did with students of mine. Click on the links to view.

  1. Teaching English Vocabulary to Cantonese-speaking the Keyword Method

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  1. Strategies of More Competent and Less Competent Problem-Solvers in a Problem-Solving Task of Sorting a Scrambled Passage

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Problem solving and computing in Mathematics

These are articles done with a PhD student of mine involving educational psychology, computing and mathematics. Click on the links to view the abstracts.

1. Problem Complexity: A Measure of Problem Difficulty in Algebra by Using Computer

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2. Electronic Homework [Abstract only]

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This is a very early article written soon after arriving at the Chinese University that builds on my teaching experience. Click on the link below to view the article.

Some thoughts on the Teaching of Pupils of Lower Academic Ability:

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Same article (in file viewer)

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