MORE SCIENTISTS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: THE DEVELOPMENT OF STUDENTS’ SCIENCE PROCESS SKILLS IN A DEVELOPING COUNTRY
Tshwane University of Technology (SOUTH AFRICA)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The ever-increasing population experiences an enormous shortage of skilled scientists that are needed for economic prosperity. Science teachers are important role players to equip students with the skills they need to address the science challenges of the 21st century. The term ‘science process skills’ was propagated by the Science A Process Approach (SAPA) curriculum project to change the emphasis of science from a knowledge based subject to a skilled based curriculum. Basic process skills such as observing, inferring, classifying, measuring, predicting and communicating can be considered as prerequisites for the integrated (higher cognitive) process skills when teaching science in the higher grades.
Mostly disadvantaged secondary school science teachers (n= 85) of various provinces in South Africa participated in this study. The research was based on quantitative and qualitative data. A questionnaire consisting of both closed and open-ended questions was constructed for secondary school science teachers to determine: their teaching experience and academic qualifications; if they use the process approach to teach science; what strategies and methods work best to develop students’ process skills, where teachers are encountering a lack of equipment and teach large class sizes.
The findings of this article highlighted teaching methods such as group work, the inquiry method, guest speakers, fieldtrips, workshops, rubrics and DVDs that work best for secondary school teachers to develop students’ science process skills.
Keywords: Science, process skills, lack of resources, lifelong learning, secondary school teachers, basic process skills, integrated process skills.