College of the North Atlantic Qatar (QATAR)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN14 Proceedings
Publication year: 2014
Pages: 4847-4856
ISBN: 978-84-617-0557-3
ISSN: 2340-1117
Conference name: 6th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 7-9 July, 2014
Location: Barcelona, Spain
This paper explores the way in which practical activities are perceived and carried out in Qatari schools, and identifies existing barriers and enablers for their implementation from the perspectives of science teachers. The study is based on a survey of 179 science teachers from nearly 50 different schools as well as interviews of 36 teachers representing primary, preparatory and secondary schools. The survey consists of 43 statements grouped into seven domains.

Purpose of practical, barriers to effective delivery, time spent on practical, how practical sessions are delivered, how activities are assessed and what percentage weighting is allocated to practical from the total science grade, and what are the enablers that promote effective practical science delivery. Reliability statistical analysis generated a consistency within each of the above constructs with Cronbach's alpha ( ) values between 0.73 and 0.85.

Results and interviews indicate that the dominant delivery procedure depends, mostly, on teachers’ demonstration with about 79% of the respondents indicated that it is their main strategy, coupled with frequent use of ICT and modeling but little emphasis on enquiry based investigation and/or hands-on activities.

The results show that the top barriers to effective delivery, in descending order, are:
Time constraint due to length of curriculum , insufficient technical support (personnel), lack of students’ interest and attitude, lack of teachers’ experience in practical delivery, Assessment and tests’ requirement, and lack of necessary equipment and materials. The results indicate that all these factors are important with little significant difference between their contributions.
Similarly factors promoting effective delivery are equally important with close percentages among responses. They are, as follows, in descending order: Reduce curriculum and allocate more time on practical activities, provide effective training for teachers, enforce strict policy on students’ behavior, cooperation with higher education institutes, recruitment of more skilled lab technicians and teaching assistants, put more emphasis on assessment of practical activities.

Results from both survey and interviews showed that teachers spend about 25% of the time allocated for science classes, on practical; however, assessment weighting percentages are between 10-15% of the overall mark of the subject.
Practical activities, science education, curriculum, inquiry based investigation.