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Title: How prepared are First-year Life Sciences pre-service teachers for the laboratory learning environment? A case study at a University of Technology
Authors: Mazwayi, Vusi 
Booi, Kwanele 
Keywords: Different social backgrounds;Laboratory;Life Sciences education;Practical work;Pre-service teachers
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: EDULEARN
Conference: EDULEARN (10th annual International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies. 2-4 July, 2018. Palma de Mallorca, Spain. 
Abstract: Developing countries are routinely associated with wide disparities between social classes have often been observed in developing countries such as South Africa. Such social stratification is in many cases caused by governments who adopt ideologies from well-developed countries without reflecting upon the context in which such ideologies are to exist. The University of Technology, at which this case study was conducted, typifies the inequality in social classes from which students are drawn. This study aimed at focusing on student experience in conducting practical work in a laboratory environment. A purposive sampling strategy was chosen with the aim of investigating the effect of prior exposure of first-year Life Sciences students to the laboratory environment. Life Sciences in its nature require students to be acquainted with both content knowledge and practical work knowledge. In identifying preparedness of first year Life Science for university education, it has been observed that these students have manifested signs of socio-economic disparity in execution of practical conducted in laboratory environments. The researcher observed manifestations of these differences in laboratory practical activities: such as microscopic, taxonomy, measurement skills required as knowledge learnt prior to their enrolment in education. This study was underpinned by Bourdieu’s, scientific capital and cultural capital as well as Maton’s Legitimation Code Theory. Such theories address disciplinary knowledge that endows Life Sciences students with peculiar skills: lacking or debilitated by poor secondary school training. Results of this study revealed that there are indeed visible differences in the way that students executed selected Life Sciences practical activities introduced in the Life Sciences laboratory. Such discrepancies were relatable to differences in schooling. Some students were drawn from schools where practical activities were not conducted while other groups of students in the sample for this study were adequately prepared to conduct experiments independently. This study concluded that South African academics need to be more aware of the social dynamics.
Description: Conference Proceeding
ISBN: 9788409027095
DOI: 10.21125/edulearn.2018.0240
Appears in Collections:Edu - Conference Proceedings

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