CURRENT STATUS OF THE ADVANCED LEVEL CHEMISTRY PRACTICAL COMPONENT IN SCHOOLS OF SRI LANKA AND RELEVANT REMEDIAL CHANGES

Galhena Gamage Priyanga Sajeewanie Perer

Abstract


Chemistry-practical in Advanced Level syllabus is not popular among students though it is a very practical subject which helps to understand the changes of the environment. Enforced demand arises year by year for chemistry as it is a main subject in science stream to enter medical and engineering faculties. In our evaluation system no attention has been given to conduct practical tests. Therefore much value has been given to theory-part than practical in teaching-learning process. As a result, students develop their memorizing power than improving their skills. In the new A/L syllabus there are 45 chemistry practical and every student has to complete at least 80% of the total list to be eligible to the final examination according to the circular. Teachers have much room to give individual attention to the students and can explain the lesson with good understanding of the weaknesses of them in practical classes. Thereby abstract concepts can be converted to concrete concepts very easily. Main objectives of this research are to investigate the participation of A/L students in chemistry practical sessions and to investigate the opinions of A/L students and teachers regarding practical sessions. To achieve this goal, a questionnaire was prepared and distributed among 30 chemistry-teachers in randomly selected five leading schools in Colombo who teach chemistry in both English and Sinhala media. Questionnaire prepared for students were distributed among 200 students who follow the science and mathematics streams of the most leading school in Sri Lanka. It was observed that the basic knowledge of the practical is not given properly before carrying out the practical. Laboratory-facilities also are not up to the standard level. Though teachers’ involvement for practical in every way is very satisfactory, utilizing modern technology and new methodology to teach practical is very poor. Unfortunately more than three fourth of the students do not complete chemistry practical before the examination due to various reasons. In most cases, students don’t get a chance to do the practical themselves and about 98.5% of practical are done by teacher or laboratory assistant. The survey also revealed how the language barrier affects “local-medium” students compared to English-medium students while using modern technology such as internet/ e-mail in searching for additional knowledge. The results of the initial survey clearly explain that there is a major drawback within the whole process of teaching of chemistry practical. The laboratory-facilities even in some of leading schools in Colombo also are not up to the required level. This gives us a hint of the possible situation in rural areas. Therefore these recommendations can be extended to all the schools throughout the country to conduct chemistry practical in A/L syllabus. The request from 70% of students to “Redesign the current teaching method” emphasizes the requirement of immediate solution for this issue.

 

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advanced level, chemistry, practical, questionnaire

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References


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