APPLICATION OF PROBLEM-BASED LEARNING IN BIOLOGY TEACHING IN A PRIMARY SCHOOL – AN EXAMPLE OF GOOD PRACTICE
1 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Biology and Ecology (SERBIA)
2 University of Novi Sad, Faculty of Sciences, Department of Physics (SERBIA)
3 Primary School "Sava Kerković", Ljig (SERBIA)
About this paper:
Conference name: 10th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 2-4 July, 2018
Location: Palma, Spain
Abstract:The Republic of Serbia is currently in the process of the ongoing reform of the educational system, which includes changes in the curriculum of teaching subjects of primary education. Accordingly, starting from the school year 2018/19, the students of the fifth grade of primary school will learn the contents of natural and social sciences according to the new curriculum, which will gradually be introduced in the following grades. Teaching aimed at achieving learning standards and outcomes, which define what a student needs to know at the end of a certain level of education, as well as additional cross-curricular linking of the contents, are the key points of the reform which goal is for students to acquire functional knowledge rather than memorizing the facts by heat. By analyzing the new curricula of the natural sciences, the biggest changes have been made in the teaching subject of Biology. In the new curriculum, a distribution of the contents is spiral, and their implementation requires a conceptual approach to teaching which aims to direct learning and teaching of Biology to the understanding of the most important ideas by linking and integrating the contents from different biological disciplines. Such approach gives teachers the autonomy to teach biological contents in the context of adapting the educational process to the specific conditions of the environment in which the school is located and the students' interests, which contribute to their greater motivation and the acquisition of competences necessary for understanding the living world. By applying active learning strategies based on a student-centered approach, students should acquire, among other things, the research competencies related to the development of skills in asking the problem-solving questions, planning, observation, experimentation, interpretation of results and drawing conclusions. One of the active learning strategies that develop the described research competences is the problem-based learning. In the problem teaching, the basic factor is the activity of students, and the goal is to comprehensively develop their personality. Biology as a fundamental science gives great opportunities to use this teaching approach, because almost every Biology class can begin by asking a problem question.
The results of numerous studies on the efficiency of the problem-based learning in Biology teaching have shown that the application of this approach contributes to better and more durable knowledge of students, developing in students greater motivation and readiness for learning. Although the reasons for application of the problem-based learning in Biology teaching are fully justified, this teaching approach is insufficiently represented in teaching practice at schools in the Republic of Serbia. Since there are not enough examples of teaching methods and precise instructions on how to organize, prepare and implement the problem-based learning, this paper first analyzes the didactic characteristics and values of the application of the problem-based learning, and then gives an example of applying this approach at a Biology class. By increasing the accessibility of didactic materials for Biology teachers, which are examples of good practice, teachers will be more prepared for their implementation, and more efficient in achieving the prescribed Biology standards and outcomes.
Keywords: Problem-Based Learning, Biology Teaching, primary school, didactic-methodical material.