M.J. Arévalo1, M.V. Gil1, O. Lopez2, N. Araujo1

1University of Extremadura, Departament of Organic and Inorganic Chemistry (SPAIN)
2University of Seville, Faculty of Chemistry (SPAIN)
There are numerous teaching methodologies in the Organic Chemistry area, which are used depending on the types and difficulties of the corresponding contents. In this sense, the cooperative learning methods (1) are important, not only to enable the teaching-learning process, but also to train the students for working in teams (thus improving teamwork skills), and to be compromised with social values and with the solidarity principles (2).

Lecturers in the Organic Chemistry field are conscious that students quite often find difficulties to assimilate certain topics of the course contents, and among them, stereochemistry of organic compounds is a relevant one.

Therefore, this proposal arises from the concern of a group of professors of this area of knowledge. We suggest the implementation of the following working methodology to introduce the unit devoted to stereochemistry: the students will be divided into groups of six students each, in order to maximize the heterogeneity, and especially with regard to personal performance. Each student will receive an item related to the topic to be prepared. Next, the students of different groups that have received the same item will discuss in “expert groups” the information received. Finally, each student will act as a student-tutor for the rest of students from their own group, and will teach the information he has previously learned to the rest. By using this methodology we expect that students will show more interest in class, will participate more actively, and will also show more confidence in them.

The professors participating in this project will coordinate and organize the working materials, and will solve any academic problems that the student-tutor can not solve by himself.

Our proposal for teaching the topic chosen would be to divide it in the fields indicated below, for which six hours of presence teaching would be devoted:

1. Chirality. Chiral molecules
2. Enantiomers and tetrahedrical structure of carbon. Use of molecular models.
3. Optical Activity. Specific optical rotation.
4. Configuration. Priority rules for assigning the absolute configuration.
5. Diastereoisomers and meso compounds.
6. Racemic mixtures. Resolution of racemic mixtures.


(1) Monereo Font, C. y Durán Gisbert, D. Entramados. Métodos de aprendizaje cooperativo y colaborativo, Edit. Edebé, Barcelona, 2002.

(2) (a) Barbosa, R. M. N. y Jófili, Z. M. S. Aprendizagem cooperativa e ensino de química -parceria que dá certo, Ciência & Educação, 10(1), 55-61, 2004. (b) Ragoff, B.; Interacción entre iguales y desarrollo cognitivo en: apéndices de pensamiento cognitivo en el contexto social. Editorial Paidos, España, 1993. (c) Badia, A. (2005): “Aprender a colaborar con Internet en el aula”. En Monereo, C. (coord.): Internet y competencias básicas. Aprender a colaborar, a comunicarse, a participar, a aprender. Barcelona: Editorial Graó.