Coding and Analysing Behaviour Strategies of Instructors in University Science Laboratories to Improve Science Teachers Training

By Ajaja, Patrick Osawaru | International Education Studies, January 2013 | Go to article overview

Coding and Analysing Behaviour Strategies of Instructors in University Science Laboratories to Improve Science Teachers Training


Ajaja, Patrick Osawaru, International Education Studies


Abstract

The intention of this study was to determine how science instructors in the university laboratories spend time on instruction. The study, was guided by three research questions and two hypotheses tested at 0.05 level of significance. The study employed a non-participant observation case study design. 48 instructors teaching lower and higher levels practical courses in Botany, Microbiology, Zoology, Chemistry, Physics, and Geology in Faculty of Science of Delta State University constituted the sample. A behaviour checklist called Science Laboratory Interaction Categories (SLIC) was the instrument used for data collection. A major finding of the study showed that science instructors spend most of the instructional time on; Demonstration of Procedure, Shows, Transmits, Listens and Non-lesson related behaviours resulting in less investigative teaching. Another finding of the study shows that among the six science disciplines the data revealed significant differences for all the instructor behaviours. It was concluded that the observation of what science instructors do in the university laboratories can be a source of valid information on how to improve science education in the universities and science teachers training for other levels of education and institutions.

Keywords: science, behaviour, laboratory, interaction and effective

1. Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study Today's science education earnestly needs science teachers who are ready to have ideas about their teaching for the purpose of improvement and who possess the skills and materials to teach effectively. Most studies in science education have been concentrated on the evaluation of teaching at all levels through different methods. Literature on behaviour strategies show studies mainly on students' evaluation or rating of instructors and observational techniques of identifying effective teaching behaviours. Five key behaviours have been identified by researchers since the early 70s (Rosenshine, 1971; Good, 1986; Borich, 2004; Brophy, 1989; 2002; Brophy & Cantrell, 1998/99; Dunkin and Biddle; 1974; Taylor, Pearson, Clark and Walpole, 1999; Teddlie and Stringfield, 1993; Walberg, 1986) as influencing effective science teaching. These include: clear presentation of instruction, use of different teaching methods, teacher spends most of the time in class teaching, engaging students in learning activities and determination of students' success in the class.

The literature on effective science teaching shows that it is not definitive on what constitutes an effective teaching. Ajaja (1998, 2005) while discussing the position held by (Dunkin & Biddle 1974) suggested one reason for the inability of science education researchers to clearly define the meaning of effective science teaching which is generally accepted despite several years of research. What was found in literature was broad characteristics of effective science teaching varying to some extent from one author's definition to another. The suggestion is that the most clearly identified shortcoming of researchers in defining effective science teaching is their failure to observe teaching activities. It should be noted at this point that an objective, detailed and quantitative description of teachers and students interactions in science laboratories can be obtained correctly by systematic observational techniques. This entails the instructors' behaviours being coded and studied at different levels and situations depending on the purpose of the study.

Teaching is one of the very few occupations where very little effort is made to observe other professionals. Surgeons for example operate together and in the process students acquire skills and experiences in their field. Many teachers work in isolation. Once they start teaching, most teachers are deprived of the opportunity to observe other teachers at work.

Teachers can benefit immensely from the observation of other teachers, especially if the teaching situation is similar to their own. …

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