The Role Of Practical Work In Primary Education Science

2666 words - 11 pages

The aim of this essay is to discuss the role of practical work in the science curriculum. This essay will analyse how practical work can play an integral role in enhancing children's learning in science, whilst also looking at how it can become used ineffectively without purpose. This essay will look at the issues surrounding practical work and its role in the classroom; something which I will explore in depth with the aid of vital research, various academic points of view combined with my own experience. The final part of the essay will focus on the ethical issues relating to practical work and the possible implications of this.Historically and indeed presently, British school systems place strong emphasis on the pedagogy of practical work particularly in the teaching of science. Science also works as a tool, which provides excellent opportunities for children as they are able to acquire knowledge through the use of various techniques the most obvious example being through experiments. It has therefore been stipulated that "practical works lies at the heart of primary science" (SCORE Online) as it provides unique educational value, as acquisition of knowledge along with scientific enquiry is fundamental. This essay proposes to cover definitions of practical work, whilst focusing predominantly on the effectiveness and caveats of partaking in practical science work. In doing this I will critically analyse research by various academics and reflect on my own personal schooling experiences and observations of practical work in schools, in turn using them to reach more concrete conclusions. The terminology practical work is a broad and vast category that comprises of many different forms and types of activities. Consequently there are many conflicting definitions on what constitutes practical work in science education (SCORE Online). The National Curriculum (DfE Online) defines practical work as the constitution of a practical activity where children investigate and develop their enquiry skills. However this is a very limited definition with no expansion as to the meaning of enquiry skills. A better definition is offered by Roden (2005) as he concurs that "practical work includes the teaching or learning where children are involved in observation and manipulation of real objects in their environment." Following this definition we can begin to form a more concrete notion that practical work develops knowledge and understanding of the natural world and prompts children to be more naturally inquisitive. Therefore practical work in science is far more reaching then just investigating as it provides opportunities for children to experience and explore different observations, problem solving, analysis and phenomena. Reflecting back to my experience as secondary school student scientific investigations played a distinctive role in my education, and it would be fair to say there were multiple far reaching advantages. We developed more than just the ability to...

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