Forum on Science Learning and Teaching, Volume 5, Issue 3, Foreword
Agnes Shook Cheong CHANG
Promoting Thinking through Pedagogical Changes in Science Lessons
Emphasis on process skills and metacognitive skills
Teachers have found it convenient to get students fill in the blanks in science practical worksheets. This caters for easy marking. But what kinds of skill can students learn from this set of procedures? Students do not need to apply any conditional knowledge (asking why and when) in the whole exercise. Do students need to understand the rationale underpinning the steps in an experiment? In the spirit of scientific enquiry, students should be able to explain the scientific concept behind each step taken in a science experiment.
There should be a move away from the focus on results in science practical to that of process skills. Planning, organizing, observing, verifying, interpreting, evaluating and reflecting skills are important skills that science students should acquire. In their eagerness to fill in the blanks with the expected readings, students often ignore the important process skills. Reflection and error analysis are often by-passed when the focus is centred on getting the right answer and not on learning from mistakes.
In order to ensure that students have understood the scientific concepts taught and to discourage rote learning, some science teachers in Singapore have asked students to explain their choice of a response in a multi-choice test. Students are challenged to think through their choices and they realize that guessing will get them nowhere.
Copyright (C) 2004 HKIEd APFSLT. Volume 5, Issue 3, Foreword (Dec., 2004). All Rights Reserved.