Monday, 28 April 2014

Don't just read it, DO IT

Reading science with no practice is almost as disastrous as replacing Ferguson with Moyes. How on earth will responsible persons who are supposed to have an interest in proving the best education for our children sit at table and come up with ridiculous proposal as this?
The exciting part of chemistry to a school pupil is blowing things up, the hypnosis of biology is cutting things up and the awe in physics is bringing robots to life. How is substituting exciting chemical reactions, the hypnosis of dissection and the awe in robotics for a bit of pen and paper going to awaken the desire for science in a 12 year old?
The theme for this year’s TEDMED held at the Royal Albert Hall on Easter Monday was “Imagining the future of medicine”. The fascination on stage is less than a blurb of what the future holds for science.  The biotechnology revolution is only just beginning and our focus should be on how best we can bring forth our next generation of scientist. Scientist, who appreciate the act of doing science.  Science communicators, STEM Ambassadors, public engagement officers, Science societies to name but a few are working tirelessly to encourage the proliferation of science in young people. The industry is already recovering from the lack of practical skills in graduates. Basing less emphasis on practical science during the early school years is in danger of opening up healing wounds.
Coming from a third world country where science is a lot more theoretical and less practical, to an environment where practical course work was an integral part of the curriculum, I’ve experienced both worlds and have first hand knowledge of how contrasting reading - “pipette 100ยตl of solution into an eppendorf” is from physically handling and using a pipette to dispense a solution. After being thought the theory of physics in Ghana and sitting in my A-level Physics class constructing telephone lines, it was almost as if I’d taken on a new subject. The practical application of science to everyday day life suddenly made it more worthwhile. There was no turning back, my quest to save the world (probably as an avenger) was real. Doing science filled in the blanks.

Imagine the questions rushing through the mind of a pupil when you streak a solution onto an agar plate and come back to bugs in a dish or titrate a solution and magically change the colour of the solution at the endpoint or power your first model car with everyday batteries? This is the science that nags at our brain with questions and generates curiosity to yearn for more. Improving practical science is what Ofqual should be propagating not undermining and I do hope the science industry will stand up to this potential atrocity.  .  

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