The Needs for and Barriers to Laboratory Teaching at the College of Education, University of Garmian: A Case Study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics Departments

By Ahmadi, Farhad | Researchers World, July 2017 | Go to article overview

The Needs for and Barriers to Laboratory Teaching at the College of Education, University of Garmian: A Case Study of Biology, Chemistry and Physics Departments


Ahmadi, Farhad, Researchers World


INTRODUCTION:

Realization of knowledge-oriented social development depends on high-quality education, among other things. Universities will be efficient educational centers if students experience diverse educational situations, e,g. designing experiments to observe and feel the educational concepts and learning material in the classrooms. There are numerous definitions for laboratory. It is a place where practical experiments are performed by the teacher to convey the concepts to learners. Practical exercises include experiments and any other activities leading learners towards scientific skills. It may be designed for scientific studies in a building, at a university, on a field, along the river, or in open spaces (Igwe, 2003). Laboratory is so important to teachers that Baird (1990) reckons it as a basis for teaching experimental science, and development of knowledge and skills. It also helps students develop a scientific approach towards phenomena. White (1996) believes that laboratory activities create skills that are applicable in daily life and boost creativity and innovation. They prolong the retention of learnt concepts, as well. Based on Feedman (1997), the traditional teaching methods do not meet the contemporary requirements. Abandoning rote learning and challenging students' minds through appropriate practical activities, as well as adopting an interdisciplinary approach towards acquisition of experimental science, encourage the students to be active learners and develop the sense of cooperation. John Dewey, philosopher and educational psychologist, says "What a learner experiences is the highest and most prominent prerequisite of learning". Learners' engagement in practical activities and experiments increases their fervent and inclination towards learning. It facilitates learning by combing different types of material and designing educational and experimental devices. Experimentation, as an auxiliary prop, is effective in conveying complicated theoretical concepts. These activities aim to educate researchers who are able to answer more complicated questions (Lunetta, 1998). On the other hand, motivating learners to remain active in science classes (physics, chemistry, and biology) is a big challenge, even for experienced professional teachers (Lunetta, 1998). Learners' participation and laboratory activities can help teachers, to this end. There are numerous reasons to emphasize the importance of experimentation in teaching science lessons:

1. Experiments help a learner develop the skills required for a scientist. These skills include planning, close observation, precise recording of data, clear and unbiased representation of the information, proper presentation of results, and finding logical relations among variables.

2. Experiments facilitate understanding of scientific facts and concepts.

3. Experiments make learners active thinkers about the goals of the experiment. Consequently, instead of drowning learners in a one-way data stream provided by the teacher, they actively engage in exchanging information with the teacher.

4. Experiments make scientific facts more tangible.

5. Experiments make science courses more interesting and exciting.

6. Experiments develop the skills intended by the course, educational objectives like development of scientific communication, literacy, and utilizing information technology and telecommunications (Bybee, 2000). Omiko (2015) states that manual experience leads learners towards inquiry spirit, acquiring scientific skills, and proper perception of tools and material. Society employs the university students based on their experience and skills at the laboratory. To boost the effectivity of the laboratory, students not only need to know experimentation procedures, but they also need to realize the importance of the laboratory experiments in understanding the scientific concepts. Omiko (2007) mentions five set of education objectives attainable through laboratory teaching:

1. …

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