About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 1501-1507
Publication year: 2015
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain

WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY PRACTICAL COURSES

V. Janštová

Charles University, Faculty of Education and Faculty of Science (CZECH REPUBLIC)
It is crucial to get young people engaged in science as there has been a world wide decline in numbers of students enrolling science courses. Improving and intergating effecticve practical courses can be one of the possible ways how to increase students‘ interest in science. The contribution of practical courses is seen mainly in developing students‘ scientific skills and linking theoretical concepts to material world. Students enjoy hand – on activities and practical courses and value them positively. Many teachers see practical courses as an important motivative tool. It has been shown that science practical courses have a positive impact on students‘ knowledge as well as attitude towards science. On the other hand, the topic matters as well as the design. For example, animal or organ dissections can have a negative effect on the attitude toward biology. Inquiry based practical courses are more effective in teaching scientific thinking and experimental design. It is without doubt that practical courses have to be well prepared and student oriented to serve it’s purpose.

The aim of this study was to map what topics and types of practical courses are taught at Czech high schools. An on - line questionnaire for high school biology teachers had been prepared and tested before it was used again for collecting the data. Teachers were asked to provide information about their work experience, number of hours they devote to different biological topics (eg., botany, zoology, cell and molecular biology) and types of practical courses they teach for each of these topics. The reasons for not teaching some practical activities were analyzed as well.

It was found out some topics like molecular biology and virology were taught without or nearly without practical courses. The most practical courses were included in botany and protistology. This is not surprising as the most common activity was microscoping. The most different types of practical courses were taught for zoology. All teachers considered practical courses an important part of high school biology. They stated different reasons for this but the reasons did not vary according to teachers‘ age, gender or type of faculty they graduated. On the other hand biology teachers who also studied information and communication technologies were able to teach more practical courses for molecular biology and genetics compared to teachers with other combination of subjects. This shows how can bioinformatics be used on high schools. The type of faculty the teachers graduated from together with gender and subjects they taught together with biology had an influence on the individual practical courses they chose for different biology topics. The types of practical courses taught for different biological topics are discussed.

The analysis brings an important insight into why and how do teachers choose different types of practical courses they teach. This can have a practical impact as the high school practical courses have a potential to change students‘ attitude toward biology when taught well. The results can be important for pre-service teacher education.
@InProceedings{JANSTOVA2015WHA,
author = {Janštov{\'{a}}, V.},
title = {WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY PRACTICAL COURSES},
series = {8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2015 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-608-2657-6},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Seville, Spain},
month = {18-20 November, 2015},
year = {2015},
pages = {1501-1507}}
TY - CONF
AU - V. Janštová
TI - WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY PRACTICAL COURSES
SN - 978-84-608-2657-6/2340-1095
PY - 2015
Y1 - 18-20 November, 2015
CI - Seville, Spain
JO - 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2015 Proceedings
SP - 1501
EP - 1507
ER -
V. Janštová (2015) WHAT IS ACTUALLY TAUGHT IN HIGH SCHOOL BIOLOGY PRACTICAL COURSES, ICERI2015 Proceedings, pp. 1501-1507.
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