FUSE GA, August 2015

by / Wednesday, 08 June 2016 / Published in Articles

Learning science: Think, analyze, don’t memorize

A chemist-educator urged science teachers to allow their students to
think and analyze, instead of requiring them to memorize facts and
procedures that does not lead to mastery of scientific concepts and

“One of the issues that needs to be addressed under the K-12 program
is the common belief of teachers that inquiry-based teaching always
involves the conduct of an open-ended investigation,” said Dr. Marlene
B. Ferido, a member of the Chemistry Group of UP-NISMED (National
Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development).

Addressing the recent monthly general assembly of the Foundation for
Upgrading the Standard of Education (FUSE), Ferido prodded science
teachers to adopt the inquiry-based approach as this would develop the
students’ analytical and problem-solving skills.

“I have yet to see a book that emphasizes scientific inquiry (on
teaching and learning). We have a long way to go,” pointed out Ferido,
a recipient of the 2014 Gawad Chanselor Natatanging REPS (Research,
Extension, and Professional Staff) award.

UP-NISMED had observed that most science teachers teach by the book
and conduct assessment of students’ performance through a
paper-and-pencil test and focus on recall of concepts or procedures.
Questions are often in the selected-response format—multiple choice or
matching type or enumeration—and short-answer questions.

“Assessment of student learning is the weakest part of our education
system. It is always done at the end of instruction to measure
students’ achievement. Teachers need to learn how to decide on the
appropriate assessment task,” Ferido said.

Under the K-12 science curriculum, inquiry-based teaching and
learning, and the spiral progression approach—concepts and skills are
revisited at each grade level with increasing depth—will be the norm
for mentors and students.

The current curriculum, the UP agency noted, teaches children to
memorize concepts rather than develop analytical skills. As a result,
children, it rued, cannot interpret graphs or data from charts and
illustrations or write essays on open-ended questions.

For the K-12 science curriculum to be successful, Ferido batted, for
an accurate and up-to-date dissemination of results of research
studies done locally and abroad related to science teaching and
assessment of students, and new and relevant Department of Education
orders and memo covering curriculum, assessment and instruction to
teachers of science subjects.