Use of “observation skills” as a teaching/learning strategy in primary science classroom
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
Observation skill is a central science process skill and can be used as a teaching/learning strategy in science classrooms to enhance students' scientific attitude and learning. Observation skill is critical for gaining command on other science process skills. It helps in widening the conceptual understanding by children of things around them and also in promoting their natural curiosity. This study is based on aspects of observation strategy extracted from the literature and implemented in one of the government schools in Pakistan. The prevailing practice of science in most of the schools in Pakistan is teacher-oriented and teachers think of themselves as dispenser of information and indulge in expository teaching. The part of students in such teaching/learning discourse is that of passive spectators. Children's prior experiences and observations are usually not taken into account, especially in primary schools. The intent of this study was to introduce observation as a teaching/learning strategy in primary science classrooms using peer coaching as a model. Additional objectives of study were to find out the views of the teacher about the use of observation as a teaching/learning strategy, possibilities for its use and challenges encountered during teaching. During the process I found I focused more on that than the development of the teacher. The reason could be my desire to see how and what the outcome of observation as a teaching/learning strategy would be. The results of the study showed that observation as a teaching/ learning strategy has considerable impact on altering the classroom milieu. Moreover, the findings indicate that observation, as a teaching/learning strategy is very effective in engaging students in exploring their surroundings by using their senses to the maximum. In addition, it helps a teacher to attain maximum participation of the students. The use of observation as a teaching/learning strategy fosters pupils' enthusiasm, curiosity, and act as an impetus in learning. As far as the teacher learning is concerned I found that certain factors foster teacher's learning such as teacher's openness to learning, prior experience, pedagogical content knowledge. On the other hand, factors which hindered teacher learning include having a defensive attitude, are general attitude regarding teaching-learning discourse. Action research was the strategy used for this study, a methodology usually adopted by educators to improve the existing practices or situation. This strategy has benefited many people, for instance the co-teacher, the students involved in the study and myself, as I was more interested in learning to use the observation skill as a teaching/ learning strategy for enhancing students' use of their maximum senses for collecting information and learning of science in particular. Different strategies used for introducing observation as a teaching/learning strategy included unfocused, focused observations using natural settings. Furthermore, probing, repetition for refining observations, comparing and contrasting things were a few that helped in achieving the intended outcomes.
Khanam, N. (2002). Use of “observation skills” as a teaching/learning strategy in primary science classroom (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.