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How Effective are Practicals in Schools

By Manishpaull Subscribe to RSS | January 18th 2012 | Views:

All the students attached their chromatographic glass tubes into their respective clamp stands. Some knocked off the conical flask in the art of fixing it into the clamp stand. The aim was to check the point at which phenolphthalein turned light pink. Everybody missed the shot the first time, but the best part was that everybody knew what they had to do; only nobody knew why they were doing it! The priority had become waiting for the point at which the solution turned light pink. It didn’t matter whether we knew any more than that or not. The idea was to pass in the practical exam.

Nobody including the teacher knew which scientist performed this experiment first and for what joy? Or was the scientist in search of something else before he tripped over this by serendipity? The Biology practical’s were worse. Fix the motionless chloroformed animal and go dissecting it right till the vestibular vein…now…no doubt, in the long run it definitely will help me sharpen my surgical skills if I were to become a surgeon but what if I didn’t? I would have landed up crippling 1 pigeon, 1 lizard, 1 earthworm in an entire academic year.

Let’s take a look at the physics practical’s for a change. Struggle till you get the measurement of an ordinary aluminum cylindrical cone using a pair of “Vernier Callipers”. Bring the callipers closer and closer till you squint. 0.1111111111111 mili micron. Now where else would I use such a unit? While buying clothes? No, food? No, while measuring astronomical distances? Yes…. But how many even manage to get into astronomical institutes? Hardly a few! Then what’s the point of teaching children practical sessions that don’t have much of an impact in our dealing and understanding of the outside world? Instead, how much better it would be to have “Robotics” or artificial intelligence is a part of the children’s science practical’s at school.

What if the animal closest to man were cut up studied for biology practical’s? What if children were taken to the school terrace to watch the sky by day or by night….to identify new constellations…. What if children were taught the basics of pipetting and blood diagnostics for biology, wouldn’t practical’s come closer to life than what it is like now? Distant and difficult to understand! only to be mugged and produced on sheets of paper for the exams to get an A on your score card even if you copied from another student the rest of the year.

Its high time we looked at the way practical sessions were being conducted. Better still if the syllabi for the practicals were revised. Practical sessions must be taken in small batches of 5 or 10 students at a time to allow ample space for all to see. It is important for the teacher to begin with the name of the experiment, followed by the Name of the scientist, a bit of the history, the student’s aim, the equipment and chemicals used, the steps, and what to expect. Precautions and possible errors must also be made mention of. This completes the practical for the day and that’s the best way to teach children the importance and value of conducting a practical.

Manishpaull - About Author:
Writer is a team member of – a portal that provides free of cost consultancy to parents and schools for fast and easy online school admission process. Parents can locate maxfort school pitampura or st michael school delhi of their choice selected from the directory of schools listed on the site and applies to them. They can also search for montfort school as per their choice and fill up the school application forms online.

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