NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IN PRIMARY SCHOOL: THE PROCESS AND ITS IMPROVEMENTJournal: GAMTAMOKSLINIS UGDYMAS BENDROJO UGDYMO MOKYKLOJE / NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IN A COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL (Vol.27, No. 0)
Publication Date: 2021-12-29
Authors : Vincentas Lamanauskas; Dalia Augienė;
Page : 24-35
Keywords : professional development; primary school; practical activities; science education;
Despite the fact that science education (SE) in primary school is integrated, it must be of high quality. In other words, primary school students should be able to perform simple observations and tests, formulate conclusions, use the simplest devices and instruments, and so on. The same universal questions remain, such as What do young people need to know and understand? why is it important? What are the most effective ways of teaching science at different levels of the school system? What knowledge and skills do teachers need? In Lithuanian primary school (1-4 grades), science education is mainly implemented through World Cognition lessons and includes two goals that are very important for the student's socialization and education: to help the child get to know nature and its processes and to ensure appropriate (positive) student socialization. Although teachers tend to demonstrate a variety of experiments, student research activities are not predominant. A similar situation is observed with regard to the use of technology in the educational process. The readiness of teachers to organize and implement science education in primary school is quite uneven/diverse. Thus, the main aim of this study was to analyse the position of primary school teachers on the issue of science education, i.e., to determine which ways of improving science education one sees, and which methods of activity in the process of science education are most appropriate, how student research activities are carried out in the SE process. A quantitative study using a survey strategy was conducted. In-service primary school teachers from various Lithuanian primary schools participated in the study. A total of 115 teachers from more than 30 Lithuanian schools participated. Teachers use a variety of methods in their science education. The most frequently used are the involvement of students in practical work (activities), demonstration of experiments, attempts to link science content with the daily life of students, to organize group work of students. Class discussions are much less often encouraged, and students are allowed to carry out independent research (experiments). The aim is rarely to incorporate technology, to encourage (facilitate) research, to meet (take into account) the individual differences of students. In the process of primary science education, the most common research with students is related to a healthy lifestyle, environmental protection, and ecology. Less often, students do research on vegetation (flora), fauna (fauna), physical phenomena. Very rarely students do research on agriculture / the effects of chemicals on plants and animals. Students rarely explore soil, minerals, and rocks. Teachers argue that science education in primary school could be improved with more resources / equipment, etc., by including more practical work (activities) in an effort to bring science content closer to students' daily lives, with more student-centred lessons, better access to technology and their use in reducing the number of students in the classroom. Some teachers point out that it is important to devote more time to the selection and analysis of science content, etc., to the preparation of lessons and to have more opportunities for the professional development of teachers.
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