The purpose of doing practical science activities in urban and rural secondary schools in Solomon Islands
Giano, E. (2011). The purpose of doing practical science activities in urban and rural secondary schools in Solomon Islands (Thesis, Master of Science (MSc)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5340
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/5340
Internationally many science educators have argued that science teachers should ensure that their students have opportunities to engage with and take part in practical work, in order to better understand natural phenomena and learn how science tries to understand and explain these. However, there is ongoing debate about the specific purpose of carrying out practical science activities. Some research suggests that if practical investigations are not prepared well enough, they may not have much impact on improving students’ learning about science. This research study involved two secondary science teachers teaching Form 2 science in urban secondary schools and two from rural. The overarching aim was to explore the science teachers’ perceptions about the purpose of doing practical science activities in secondary schools. The study was conducted in two phases. First, based on the interpretive paradigm qualitative data was generated using semi-structured interview of each teacher. In the second phase the teachers involved in a photo elicitation process where each teacher took photographs of examples of practical science activities they organized for their students. This was followed by a second round of interviews where the teachers told the stories about the photographs they have taken. The data was then analyzed using the grounded theory method. The findings suggest that these teachers saw the purposes of doing practical science activities was to apply theoretical knowledge they learned about in class, develop thinking and process skills, motivate students and raise their interest in science. However, the teachers were not able to articulate the rationale behind doing practical science activities and did not identify it as an important aspect of science. The findings also noted the science syllabus and assessment, impact of access to science resources, training, time and class size as enablers and constraints which science teachers encounter in planning and organizing practical science activities. The findings also showed that there were differences between science teachers in urban and rural secondary schools on how they plan and organize practical science activities. The differences in how schools and science departments were equipped meant that teachers were resourceful and made use of their immediate environment when materials were scarce however they felt that ‘lab’ is best.
University of Waikato
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