To begin our joint work in the science laboratory, we offered the workshop “How to produce material for science classes”.
A chapter on colour blindness, with pictures to diagnose it in black-and-white in the Lao science course book, was our starting point. It seemed important to us that the teachers find a way to enrich their science classes and the course book with additional material and methods, whether it be coloured picture cards or experiments. In our fifth week here in Laos we, Veronika and Rebecca, therefore conducted a workshop for the science teachers in which we showed them some ways to produce extra material to enhance the school books’ texts and illustrations.
Before the workshop we had informed ourselves about the upcoming topics in the science classes of our teachers. We decided to design a workshop on the physics and biology topic: The eye, which some of the teachers were going to teach next. We started in the didactics room of the secondary school and showed the teachers how to produce picture cards and a poster. First, they had to find appropriate illustrations on the Internet, then print them, and at last also laminate them. This was a completely new experience for the science teachers and they were very proud of the results they had created.
Next we moved over to a classroom, where we practised different ways of using the new picture cards in a lesson, because we did not just want to produce the material but also enable the teachers to use it well in their classes.
The last station of our workshop was the science laboratory, where we encouraged the teachers to make use of the beamer and Whiteboard, to show the students videos or pictures. Furthermore we gave them some tips as to where they can look up experiments on their topics on the Internet.
Finally, the teachers were to prepare and conduct an experiment and get to know how to write a test report. The teachers enjoyed the workshop very much, but the most rewarding experience for us was to see that the teachers put into practice what we showed them only a few days later.
One of the teachers used the picture cards and the poster we had produced in the workshop in his lesson. He applied the methods we had practised together and he took his classes to the lab and let the students conduct the experiment from the workshop, which he even expanded with his own ideas. The only disenchanting aspect was that the teacher would have wanted to use the beamer in the laboratory which was not possible as the lab has no computer and most teachers do not own one. Another teacher looked up experiments on the Internet and found one that suited his next lesson. He got the necessary material for it and tried it successfully. It was fantastic for us to see that the teachers immediately implemented the material and the ways of teaching we had showed them in our workshop.
Text by R. Dengler & V. Golla
Photos by J. Deißler