1 University of Barcelona (SPAIN)
2 Institut Obert de Catalunya. Generalitat de Catalunya (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN12 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 7011-7016
ISBN: 978-84-695-3491-5
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 4th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2012
Location: Barcelona, Spain
The educational experience “Students as a science teacher” was a strategy to introduce scientific knowledge among secondary school students and professional-technological upper students in normal and non-actual situations. In this experience, students became science teachers in their owner classroom explaining their project in front their classmates. There are many possibilities for students as classroom teachers, they can teach regular lessons or they can serve as teaching assistants or they can teach in lower grade levels. Secondary school students and professional-technological upper students teaching classmates or younger students is beneficial to both the students whom they teach and the students-teachers themselves. To teach is to learn twice said a wise teacher.

The purpose of this article is to analyze the “students as a science teacher” strategy applied to the university levels. For this, some biochemistry undergraduate students who were interested in our project were selected for preparing and doing practical classes in a summer course directed to science secondary school students who were at least 2 to 3 years younger than them. In addition, some biochemistry postgraduate students who were doing their doctoral thesis and they were also interested in our project were selected for preparing and doing practical classes in another summer course directed to science secondary school teachers.
Summer courses designed by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of the University of Barcelona were of sufficient duration so that undergraduate and postgraduate students developed relationships among themselves and with the students they taught. Furthermore, senior teachers’ dedication who support under and post-graduate teachers, detailed curriculum to teach, response and evaluation, building a helpful group and appreciation and remuneration are key elements for an important success.
Biochemistry undergraduate students can be very efficient as practical teachers of secondary school students and postgraduate students can also be capable to teach biochemistry experiments to science secondary school teachers. A team of four under or postgraduate teachers can teach 24 people (students or teachers from secondary schools) working in small groups of six. Moreover, undergraduate teachers can make great personal gains. They were positive role models for younger students.

A questionnaire was used to evaluate the changes incorporated into the teaching of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology by young teachers. Questions such as why are you a teacher? What information do teachers need? Were you comfortable with what was expected of you as a teacher? What difficulties, if any, did you encounter as a teacher? or what suggestions do you have for new teachers?, were answered by biochemistry undergraduate teachers.
This educational approach has contributed:
To increase students-teachers’ curiosity, fomenting its participation.
To increase self-confidence.
To revitalize the relationship between university and secondary schools.
To reinforce the general and social study of science.
As a result of this experience it is important to know that this educational strategy required an effective preparation, pre and post activity, by senior teachers.
Finally, this new biochemistry students’ role, as a science teacher, becomes the key to the development of the science learning process.
Undergraduate, postgraduate, biochemistry teacher.