Mastery of Science Process Skills and Their Effective Use in the Teaching of Science: An Educology of Science Education in the Nigerian ContextReport as inadecuate

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Online Submission, International Journal of Educology v16 n1 p11-30 2002

Educology is knowledge about education, and the educology of science education is knowledge about the process of teaching and studying science in some setting, e.g. in schools, colleges and universities. Part of scientific expertise is having the process skills associated with scientific inquiry. Expertise in science process skills is a basic and integral part of having effective science teaching skills. Such expertise obviously is not innate. One is not born with it. To become expert, one must receive guidance in the ways of scientific inquiry, and one must conduct extensive guided appropriate practice in the use of the skills of scientific inquiry. The development of skills in scientific inquiry requires that students of science be provided with appropriate and adequate guidance in their study of science. This guidance is to be found in the instructional programs provided by schools, colleges and universities. Competent, adequate and appropriate guidance must meet a number of conditions. These include guidance in practical work which enhances the quality of a teacher's learning. As Ausubel notes, practical work creates a "discovery-reception continuum" as opposed to a "meaningful rote learning" experience. In short, practical work enhances the quality and extent of scientific understanding achieved by students. Experiences for school students in their guided study of science should include experiences which promote process skills, such as measuring, observing, classifying and predicting. These skills are critical for the development of a worthwhile and fruitful understanding by students of scientific concepts and propositions. These experiences are also critical for achieving expertise in the meaningful use of scientific procedures for problem solving and for applying scientific understanding to one's own life. The Nigerian context is one in which science teaching in primary and secondary schools all too often emphasizes rote learning without sufficient meanings and connections being made by students with their ordinary lives. Students often come away from science classes with a memorized set of definitions, but without a scientific attitude, without any appreciable expertise in scientific process skills and without any substantial ability to relate scientific concepts to their day-to-day lives. This state of affairs needs rectifying, and an obvious place to start is with the education of the teachers themselves (1) in science and (2) in the educology of science education.

Descriptors: Cultural Background, Science Process Skills, Science Instruction, Foreign Countries, Teaching Methods, Scientific Concepts, Rote Learning, Teacher Education, Science Teachers, Science Education, Educational Improvement, Educational Change

Author: Ango, Mary L.


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