I haven't read the book fully yet, but I am finding it interesting and challenging my view of practical work.
In chapter one, Ian Abrahams states five reasons why we do practical work:
- To enhance the learning of scientific knowledge
- To teach laboratory skills
- To develop certain 'scientific attiudes' such as open-minded ness, objectivity and willingness to suspend judgement
- To give insight into scientific method, and develop expertise in using it.
- To motivate pupils, by stimulating interest and enjoyment
What is interesting is that Abrahams states that studies have found practical work to be at least as effective as other methods of instruction.
However, a lot of these studies are old. Have our methods of teaching moved on?
The question to consider: What does practical work accomplish that could not be accomplished as well by a less expensive and less time consuming alternative?
The book is hard reading, but I don't think that I will be rushing to give up my practical work any time soon, instead I need to reflect on how I use it to best effect. I have read chapter one, so hopefully chapters 2-6 will support my reflections to become a more effective practitioner when it comes to practical work.
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