How to implement practical knowledge while teaching science.

teaching methodologies, practical teaching, teacher training institute, teacher training, practical teaching methods.


There is no subject, other than science, whose concepts can be established, so thread bear, that it swipes off any conceptual ambiguity in no time. No, no; this is not an exaggeration. It is a plain and simple assertion.

Right from the medieval times, when science was desperately trying to raise its head, [in the occidental world] more than the theories, it was the practicality and evidences, that started unnerving the dogmatic dictations. Factually, till any idea gets practically and repetitively established, science terms it a hypothesis. Hence the practicals of science are the actuals that students enjoy most once a student decides to be a 'sciencee'. Please recall, that till about ten years ago, marks for practicals were only for the science subjects. All other 'practical scores' have been recent inclusions.

Let us get back to the old age, 'A good teacher essentially demonstrates, the contents of the teachings'. If I pin down the A to Z, of implementing practical knowledge while teaching science, this is the way, it will go:

A -Establish the differences between the ABSOLUTE and the relative. Chemical symbols are absolute, formulae of Physics are absolute, but the shapes of the chloroplasts are relative, depending on which cell is under the discussion. This adds practical dimensions to the teaching of science.

B-BRING out the incredible range of the applications of the principles of science, preferably from the daily life events. A mundane activity like 'jhadoo-poucha 'involves the forces of cohesion, adhesion and capillary actions.

C-CONCEPTUALISE science teaching by fragmenting a large concept into small units. For example, for the development of the term 'work', practically cover a lot of examples wherein 'Force is working on a body but there is no distancing, hence disqualification from 'work'.

D-DEMONSTRATE everything being taught to the maximum possible range. Even simple and suitable hand movements are as good as doing practicals while teaching the theory.

E -ENCOURAGE students to come out with creative alternatives to do the same practical in different ways. I have often been outwitted by my students as they spoke about an easier approach to perform the same practical.

F-FOLLOW THE BASIC, but innovate the advanced. Most of us teachers are quite glued to 'what I know'. It is great fun to follow and unfollow with curiosity guiding us into 'absurd' suggestions.

G-GAMIFY the laboratory work with small prizes for the achiever. Supposedly one is teaching friction. Put a quick game as to who can write down, ten situations where friction works as our savior.

H-HOLD ON tenaciously till you get the correct results. This is a mandate for doing well in the practical examinations and also the viva voce

I -INVESTIGATE the anti-theories and the anti-theses. It will broaden the practical aspects of science teachings.

J-JUGGLE in relevant concepts from the non-science topics, to justify those applications of science which are prevalent in everything.

K-KINDLE a flame amongst the students that the practical aspects of science are the milestones on which technology works. 21st century as the space age is the contribution of technology.

L-LONG LASTING impacts of science are the experiential moments of the students knowing that practicals reconfirm realities.

M-MANUVOER all that you 'science-speak' to a reality check point, thus arousing faith in logic.

N-NEVER leave any discussion that leads to the practical- temper development of a student midway.

O-OBSESSIVENESS or a fetish for accuracy can be detrimental to a science learner. As a science teacher, allow students make 'practical' errors and then learn from their mistakes.

P-Apply for a PATENT, in case a student makes a denovo project or creates anything scientific that is exclusively the student's intellectual property. Many students have patent rights to their 'inventions', much unknown to most of us. It creates desires to try out new practicals.

Q -QUESTION everything you teach and create a learning map for yourself, answering the query, 'How do I show what I am teaching'. A science teacher's self-challenge for creating demonstrations is the most fundamental in any form of science -teaching.

R-REASON OUT all your concepts. Remember a reasonable person is a practical person and a practical person is always reasonable.

S-Be on an alert mode. You never know when SERENDIPITY will smile at you or your students. You certainly know that some of the biggest discoveries are fancies of serendipity.

T- There has been a TOGETHERNESS of theories and practicals. Make students perform the practicals relevant to the theory portions getting covered in the classes.

U- Attempting to UNVEIL a practical by telling a related anecdote or an associated story, makes the learners' spirit high at the very beginning of the laboratory exercise.

V-VERIFY and reverify every assertion of the text, before presenting the same to the students. The best verification method is to go for a self-conducted practical by the teacher.

W- Be WILLING to repeat the practical sessions. After all, practice makes a man perfect.

X-Let the students experience the unknown X FACTORS, twining over each practical session connected to their theory sessions

Y- YES, we will get the results------make this the slogan of your laboratory.

Z-ZOOM in for micro surveys and zoom out for macro surveys.

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Aloka Bose
Teaching Profession,
Aditya Birla Education Academy

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