September 5, 2009

Chemistry Teaching Musings (II)

Posted in Chemistry, Knowledge, Teaching/Education at 11:36 pm by faith786

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum,

(Another post in the same day? You must be bonkers, Faith786!)

…Well, if I am bonkers, it was way long before this post…. =)

I am trying to do my Chemistry lab report and the 1/T and ln P is driving me crazy and then I thought of part II of this series–Do students learn from their mistakes?

Being in a lab, often if we ‘mess up,’ we would immediately call the instructor and he/she would tell us what we did wrong and how to make it right. But I think that if time for lab was a little extended (what? more than THREE hours???) and students had a little more time to experiment, it could help students develop their problem solving skills and help them learn how to assess a situation. Typically, going to the professor is a cop out, (unless you REALLY messed up) so I think students should be given the chance to learn different ways to interpret instructions so long as no one is in any serious danger.

I also think that after the experiment, a student should write down what exactly he/she did (even if the person messed up five times) so the teacher can see how the student is learning or struggling. I dunno… maybe I am being too critical or idealistic. But in the real world, you may not always have a teacher to help make things right and you are going to mess up. So learning from mistakes in a lab can be extremely beneficial to academic and real learning. It helps students get out of the ‘am I right or wrong?’ frame of mind.

…Gah. I am just procrastinating my lab report. I wish my professor wasn’t so scary so I could ask him for help…. XD


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