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Effectiveness of Teachers at Preparing Grade 7 Candidates for Environmental Science Examinations

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Author(s): Takawira Kazembe | Methias Sithole

Journal: Eurasian Journal of Physics and Chemistry Education
ISSN 1306-3049

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 64;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: Environmental Science | Hands-on minds-on | Primary Schools | Lesson Observation | Intervention Strategies

ABSTRACT
The study was undertaken to investigate the low Grade 7 pass rate at Primary Schools in Zimbabwe which averaged 75% for local languages, 47% for General Paper (GP) and 40% for Maths. The low GP pass rate was thought to be due to teachers’ attitudes towards developing scientific skills necessary to understand Environmental Science (ES). A sample of 77 student teachers, 7 lecturers, 3 headmasters and 12 mentors was used to probe how teachers are trained to teach ES. A questionnaire, observations, documents and informal interviews were used to collect data from student teachers. Interviews were used to collect data from lecturers, mentors and headmasters. About 3.9% of student teachers found science apparatus difficult to use because they were not adequately trained to handle them. At least 50% of them believe that practical activities are necessary for theory comprehension and use practical exercises to motivate pupils so that they achieve their maximum potential. However, most student teachers lament the unavailability of teaching aids although some of them were not keen on their improvisation notwithstanding their necessity for promotion of hands-on minds-on activities. Lecturers attributed students’ problems to students’ insufficient knowledge about ES educational attitudes and blamed this on overloading of students with content at the expense of developing scientific skills. The mentors admitted having insufficient knowledge and skills to adequately supervise student teachers, and that the unavailability of textbooks caused them to engage on drilling methods because headmasters emphasized on high pass rate but were silent on meaningful learning. They believed that ES practical activities was not necessary for Grade 7 examinations.
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