Science teachers' perceptions of the role of practical work and their influence on the teaching of secondary school science: a case study

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Education (MEd)

First Supervisor/Advisor

Peter Kajoro

Second Supervisor/Advisor

Leonard Wamakote

Third Supervisor/Advisor

John Maundu


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


The theoretical approach to the teaching of science in Kenyan secondary schools has been of great concern to educationalists and the government of Kenya. In order to involve students in the learning of science, the government has put in place several measures including provision of science equipment and apparatus to selected schools in each district. Teachers generally cite inadequate teaching and learning resources as their impediment to the teaching of science using a practical approach. However, literature show that even where the teaching and learning resources are available, teachers still explicit and implicit beliefs or perceptions that guide their practice.

This study aimed at finding out the science teachers’ perceptions of the role of practical work and how these perceptions influenced their teaching of secondary school science. The study employed qualitative approach and a case study design. Multiple methods of data collection were used and these included individual interviews, class observations and document analysis.

The results of this study show that the science teachers in Rosam secondary school (not real name) who participated in the study consider practical work to be very important in the teaching of science. They mentioned motivation of learners, enhancement of understanding, and development of manipulative skills as being among the reasons of using practical work. The study further shows that in some cases there were inconsistences between the teachers’ perceptions and their practice. Generally, the perception that practical work is taught to meet the requirements of the national exam seems to dictate these science teachers practice.

From the results of the study the researcher recommends that comparative study involving schools of different categories be carried out, curriculum change and perception change of science teachers through continuous professional development be carried out and science teachers to involve students in practical work for the development of science process skills.

This document is available in the relevant AKU library