SENIOR PUPILS’ VIEWS AND APPROACH TO NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IN LITHUANIA AND LATVIA

TitleSENIOR PUPILS’ VIEWS AND APPROACH TO NATURAL SCIENCE EDUCATION IN LITHUANIA AND LATVIA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsLamanauskas, V, Gedrovics, J, Raipulis, J
JournalJournal of Baltic Science Education
Volume3
Issue1
Start Page13-23
Date PublishedMarch/2003
Type of ArticleOriginal article
ISSN1648-3898
Keywordsinterest in science, natural science education, upper secondary school
Abstract

The global tendency is obvious: interest in science is on the decrease, the number of pupils choosing university science curriculums has been constantly declining, and scientific knowledge in society (especially among young people) is inadequate. In our opinion, humanity verges on social cataclysms owing to inadequate natural science education as well as on insufficient and often improper knowledge of nature and human. Natural sciences give us most fundamental knowledge about the world of nature. Encouragement of young people’s interest in science is the essential scientific problem. As educational paradigms are being altered we must search for new quality approaches to teaching chemistry and other science subjects.

The research, which involved 350 senior pupils from Latvia and 762 from Lithuania, analyzes present-day situation in natural science education. We tried to analyze the factors that cause the interest in natural sciences to decline: inadequate content of teaching, issues related to teachers‘ competence, general attitude of society to natural sciences etc.

Thus, we may conclude that:

· the respondents positively evaluate natural science background, although their arguments differ. A part of them suppose that the knowledge acquired in basic school is sufficient. The others assume that natural science knowledge will not be necessary in the future. The pragmatic aspect is very clear. Quite a few pupils do not relate their future profession with natural sciences, and therefore believe that obtained information is fully enough;

· the respondents, obviously, are self-critical of already received natural science background at basic school. The role of a teacher, his/her competence and ability to engage pupils are highly relevant. An important point is to catch the moment when a pupils is “misunderstanding something”. Systematically growing gaps of knowledge negatively influence a learner’s approach to natural sciences in general. Then s/he is out of conceit, sees nothing important to learn, many things become uninteresting. A crucial aspect is a very small amount of practical, experimental works of natural history. An educational process of natural sciences is clearly theoretic. It should be stressed that natural sciences are mainly experimental. Therefore, experimentation has to be included into the educational process;

· the respondents’ approach to the future intentions is determined by public social-economic tendencies. Evidently, that rich life in the future is related to social, humanitarian and technological sciences.

Refereed DesignationRefereed