The influence of Practical Work in the teaching and learning of acids, bases and neutrals in Natural Sciences
Festile, Richman Mzwakhe
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The purpose of this study was to determine the influence of practical work in the teaching and learning of acids, bases and neutrals, a section of the senior phase Natural Science curriculum. In regional meetings of science teachers, many teachers indicated that learners that proceed from the senior phase to the FET band have limited knowledge of science procedures, equipment and science practicals. This study takes cognisance of this dilemma highlighted by teachers and attempts to address some of the concerns raised. Three schools were purposively chosen from the same district. The sample included one class from each school. The class was taught a practical lesson in the form of collaborative teaching by the teacher, Science Centre facilitators and the researcher. A mixed method approach was used and it allowed for diverse instruments to ensure validity and reliability. Constructivism is the theoretical framework used to underpin the study. Other theories such as Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK) also impacted on the outcomes of this study. The findings indicated that practical work improved the results of learners and enhanced the teaching of acids, bases and neutrals. Practical work also engaged more learners even the passive ones. The key recommendation is for consistency in the practical approach to science teaching, greater emphasis on the role of practical work and the implementation of - as far as possible - a hands-on approach to science content. The study provided insights into the practical teaching of topics in natural sciences and the extent to which this approach can be used to improve learners' understanding of curriculum content.