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CREATIVITY IN SCIENCE TEACHING: a practioner’s contribution
Keywords: Creativity; science; education; pedagogy
Poor performance in science by school children is a common knowledge (Okafor, 2000) Dara and Ogomaka (2005) Duru (2006). All blame poor science lesson delivery methods for this ugly trend. How can science lessons therefore be presented as to awaken the interest and attention of school children? Creative and Innovative Science lesson deliveries can rejuvenate science classrooms.
Innovation is all about making a change or improvement on the status quo. The innovative science teacher, as a creative person, therefore is willing to try all possible ideas, delay judgment and postpone gratification. The teacher will be prepared even to offend authorities initially.
FIRST - HAND experiences in innovative teaching
1. Teaching Chemistry by using plays
universally recognized. In a simple step, it involves.
Analog Knowledge Target
The plays used by the author in accordance with this model are titled “The courtroom of crazy Elements” through which the inorganic aspects of chemistry and “Queen Ester’s father,” through which organic aspect of O’ level chemistry were introduced to the students. Having tried the first play during a casual school setting and marking the tremendous interest generated, the author effectively used it with more refinements in solving a challenge. This was getting students interested in chemistry in a girls school that had many years of poor science background. The outcome inspired the second play. School functions like send-forth gatherings were used to stage the plays.
In these plays, always acted by SS1, and SS 2 students, key elements and compounds are personified, their properties as analogous to human behaviours were highlighted as well as the principles of handling them and their uses. In the classroom then, the author applied the TWA model by
Tables 1: Average Student Enrollment in Martin College Issele-Uku, in SS-3 during the period under Review.
Table2: Average number of chemistry students in Martin college SS1-SS3 offering chemistry during the period under review
Percentage of Chemistry Students enrolment to school
Period SS1 SS2 SS3 TOTAL
1996-98 130 90 58 278 77.2%
It is interesting to note that these plays are now available as textbooks (Onwukwe, 2005) so that they can benefit chemistry teachers and students everywhere. The outcome of the observations above agree with Gwany (2005) who concluded that such teaching strategies that include theatricals, music, dances etc. offer “cross sensory experiences”. These experiences help the brain to select for consideration information perceived as interesting, pleasurable, rewarding, exciting, meaningful, non-threatening and non-stressful. This is because the brain relates to the environment (in learning) on an emotional bias basis.
No wonder then Onwukwe and Okereke (2007) have recommended play - simulations and teaching with analogy as veritable method of science lesson delivery in the classroom.
2. Teaching Practical Chemistry-Quantitative Analysis As An Individualized Scheme By Using A Flow Chart.
The idea of individualizing titration experiments through a flow chart was developed by the author. The teacher prepared acid and base solutions in many stoppered containers such that combinations of different solutions (A1-and B1) gave different range of end-points etc. A note of the various combinations that produced what end-points with what indicator was taken eg: A1 and B2- emthyl orange = 27cm3, A3 and B1 phenolphthalein =21cm3 etc. Questions solvable using these endpoints were derived. Demonstration classes were then organized in the first or early second term of SS2. Thereafter, each student received the flow chart (see appendix 1) as a guide. Each student now practiced at his/her own pace. This
procedure has been tried in the secondary school as well as with the special Science programme students in the integrated science department. The results were encouraging. In an oral interview the students confessed gaining confidence, insight and opportunity to add a personal touch to their titration practical work.
3. Teaching Thinking In a Community of Inquiry
In the community of inquiry, on the contrary, the students learn to evolve ideas or problems and dissolve them through systems thinking following its laid down rules. The first rule is the break down of the rostrum for the teacher and erecting a circular sitting arrangement.
The author saw the elements of scientific attitudinal expectations in this approach to teaching and learning, and decided to try it in science based classes. First of all, the seats were re-arranged in at least a U-fashion. ( Science classes have the advantage of comparatively smaller number of students for this purpose) then follow the rehearsal of some of the ground-norms of systems thinking relevant to scientific attitudes expected of the students.
Being logical (basing arguments on premise (s)
The class then used this community to clarify concepts or explain principles and underlying practical activities. The class met severally in this way including in theory classes where principles, generalizations and theories were the main issues. The author took the position of a facilitator, sat with the students in different rows at different times, and sometimes leaving the class for a while after introducing an idea. Points of general consensus were collected and compared with more global views. After about four weeks of regular practice, the students were interviewed both individually and collectively. From their responses, it was discovered that they
However, the author also discovered from the comments of the students that
the students did not quite enjoy having to re-arrange the seats each time they had this class, other lecturers always had the seats re-arranged the usual way.
the class achieved less in terms of coverage of schemes of work compared to a full blown lecture (pedagogy)
Based on this personal experience therefore, the author concluded that setting up a community of inquiry is very good as a means of discussing practical work either before or after the exercise. It encourages acquisition of scientific attitudes among students, despite its odds due to prevalence of older and more familiar methods and their advocates.
The author first organized a practical demonstration on the identification of ions. Thereafter, before the students practiced on their own, the key concepts were written out on the chalkboard. Each student was asked to print them boldly on cardboard strips cut to the size of a GSM recharge card (about 2 x 3cm). Examples of the concepts included reagent, dilute, precipitate, soluble, insolube, gelatineous, dirty brown etc. in a discussion class, the students gathered in groups and played card games with the concept cards in a three-round game.
This innovation is not the creation of the author who rather used it several times in class
and even during a primary science teachers vacation workshop organized by the administration of a private school. The outcomes were very interesting. The divergent views, contrary meanings assumed, the insights revealed and expressed were very helpful in clarifying the concepts. This exercise revealed a fundamental learning strategy according to Glynn (1994) that teachers have a critical role to play in making learning of science concepts relational. This makes them more meaningful and understandable.
5. The Use Of Human –Oriented Curvilinear Models In Teaching The Structure of Science.
However, after displaying these models and discussing their implications as they depict the structure of science, the questions were posed again. many of the students rejected their initial positions on the questions and some were able to refocuss and arrive at more logically acceptable answers. This practice and turn of events was continued for three years in each first semester.
Again, this observation agrees with the currilinear theory of African thought form (Umezinwa, 1990) it also agrees with Vygotsky’s socio-cultura perspective of
learning and especially what is termed “The zone of Proximal Development, ZPD (Agulanna and Nwachukwu, 2004) This is a time in learning where only an adult assistance can help the learner make progress. otherwise he/she will be frustrated.
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Dara, A. O. and Ogomake, P.M.C, (2005) Comparative influence of some variables on student performance in Junior Secondary Certificate Examinations in Integrated Science. Alv. J. Sci vol2, N0 2, Pp 23-32
Duru, V.N. (2007) Enhancing Integrated science Teaching Through the Use of Concept Mapping alv. J. Sci 3,1. Pp65 -76.
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Text book Authors. Reading Research Report N0 15. Pp 1-34.
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Joseph, P.M (2002) Concentric plan of Teaching Practical Chemistry from first to third year of senior secondary School. In Ezeolora B. (ed) STAN Annual National Chemistry Workshop Proceedings. Pp6-11.
Leblanc, R. (1998) good teaching: The Top Ten Requirements. The Professor. Retrieved May 27, 2004 from http:www.viheaf.net.modules2.
Onwukwe, E.O (2005) Modeling And mapping of Abstract Concepts: An Aspect of creativity in the Teaching and Learning of Science in Schools. Alvan Journal of Science 2, 1 (Pp 56-64)
Onwukwe, E.O (2005) Teaching And Learning Science Through Plays CHEMISTRY: Court Room Of Crazy Elements, Owerri: Reliable Pub.
Onwukwe, E.O. (2205) Teaching And Learning Science Through Plays Chemistry: Queen Ester’s Father. Owerri: Joe Mankpa Pub.
Onwukwe,E.O. Ngozi-Olehi, L.C., Nnadi, E.I, Ibe, J.N, (2005). An Introduction to The Basic Sciences for the College Student. Vol.1 (p.13) Owerri: Career Publishers.
Onwuakpa, F.I. and Nweke, A.O. (2002) Enriching Science, Technolgy and Mathematics Education in Secondary Schools through effective utilization of resources in the classrooms. In Akale, M.A.G. (ed) STAN 41st Annual Conference Proceedings. Pp. 34-37
Okafor, N.P. (2000) Laboratory Resources and Utilization as Correlates of Chemistry students learning outcomes. In Akale M.A.G.(ed) STAN 41st annual conference Proceedings Pp. 109 - 173
Science Practical Individualized Instruction series (SPIIS):
Practical chemistry guide 1
The co-operation of the chemistry teacher must be elicited as he/she has to prepare the chemicals and the questions to be answered at the end of the titration.
The teacher also has to organize a demonstration/discussion class for the student (s) before each student will then practice at his/her own convenience for effectiveness, this programme has to commence in the second or third term of SS1/SS2