Laboratory work is considered essential in promoting students' learning of science and of scientific inquiry. What the students percieve as important to learn from a regular laboratory exercise probably affected by the teacher's objectives.
the laboratory has been given a central and distinctive role in science education.Before discussion the role of laboratory instructions in chemical education, it would be useful to consider the nature of the students who we teach in entry level courses. Since chemistry has become the central science because it deals with the molecularity of the world and, hence, has important consequences with respect to many associated disciplines, it is reasonable to suggest that all educated people in our society shouldhave a familiarity with some of the important aspects of our discipline. Thus, from one point of view, we are teaching a cohert of young people who will become leaders in their chosen fielda, namely, in commerce, government, the arts, and, of course, the sciences.
The current view of chemical laboratories instruction is that it has the potential for :
- Teaching manipulative skills
- Understanding the use of apparatus
- Fostering an understanding of scientific inquiry which includes :
- Designing experiments
- Executing experiments
- Generating data
- Data analysis
- Interpreting data
- Attitude toward science
- Control of science
- A sense of success
- Providing introductions of concrete examples to abstract concepts.
In chemistry lab, students directly experience laboratory chemicals and their properties, chemical reactions, chemical laboratory apparatus, and chemical laboratory instruments. These activities are essential for learning chemistry.
Our results point to the importance of teacher involvement to help students understand what to look for, how to do it and why. Especially teacher-student interactions during lab work seemed to influence what students percieved as important to learn. In the laboratory exercise in this case, the teacher helped the students to observe and to use their observations in their explanations. The lab work included learning experiences other than those addressed by the teacher, and the teacher's intentions were partially fulfilled. Not only what the teacher says, but also how the teacher acts is important to help students understand what to learn from a laboratory exercise.
The general conclusion - that laboratory instructions does, indeed, have a role in student's understanding of chemistry - placed in context with the current(theoretical) trend that scince education is critical in the education of all citizens leads to the observation that every student who takes a chemistry class should have an associated library experience that is as close to that promised within the cognitive apprenticeship model as practical if he/she is to have a meaningful learning experience (in the chemical sense). This may be a very difficult condition to establish for every student.