My experiences working in the laboratory since I was student in high school encourage me to explore more laboratory teaching. However, I felt uncomfortable when I should reflect on my teaching practices which including my institution, colleagues, students, and others. Because, I realize that the subjectivity in every journey in my teaching practices will influence my writing. Therefore, I hope that the quality standard in my narrative will help me to guide my subjectivity.
Furthermore, based on my experiences, I found several problems in Analytical Chemistry Practicum Unit.
I found that it is difficult for students to understand the concept of analytical chemistry which requires the level of analytical thinking. Compared to other units, the number of students who are failed in Analytical Chemistry (theory) is higher than other units which around 10 from 30 students. Therefore, it is common that the lecturer in this unit gave the short course in holiday to help the students who are failed. The problem on students’ understanding on the concepts of Analytical Chemistry (theory) influences their learning process in the laboratory. After couple months in laboratory, I tried to ask my students in laboratory to explore their understanding. I found that most of them didn’t understand what they did in the laboratory, they just follow the practicum procedures without understand the concepts. Therefore, I explore the metacognitive approach to overcome this problem.
Procedures of Practicum
Since, I was student in the university I found that most of the practicum’s procedures are ineffective which using large number of chemical substances which are dangerous. Therefore, it is getting worse when students work on the many steps of procedures without understand the concepts. Therefore, I try to find out the better procedures of practicum which are more effective and environmental friendly which I will explore on my chapter four.
The Integration between Theory and Practical Work
In my university, the unit of Analytical Chemistry theory and Analytical Chemistry practicum are separated. The time these units starts is also differences, the theory will much further start than the practical in laboratory. As a result, sometimes, the students found difficulties to engage between the theory and practice. Furthermore, reflect on my role as a lecturer, I should arrange the time to discuss more with the lecturers in the theory classes to shape the learning experiences which are integrated between theory and practical.
Related to assessment, the assessment which is applied is focus on the cognitive assessment (with 20% of pre test, 30% of experiments report, and 50% of final examination), which did not evaluate students’ affective and psychomotor ability. It is practicum, not theoretical in the classroom. Therefore, I realize that I not only have to evaluate my students’ cognitive but also their psychomotor aspect of doing experiments in laboratory. Then, I try applying different approaches of assessment as long as those can measure students’ competencies and learning processes. I evaluate their competencies on cognitive, affective, and psychomotor aspects. Different from other lecturers, I have my own assessment. I also already evaluated my assessment form through action research. Through my assessment, I can ask them the questions before they enter the laboratory or give them the complex sample to evaluate their competencies on solving the problems. The final examination was a performance-based assessment where they had to work in the laboratory to analyse a sample. Therefore, I can easily evaluate their competencies on those three aspects.
The Waste Problems
I realize that the danger of chemical substances that are used in laboratory. The waste also threat inappropriately, therefore, I apply some strategies in green chemistry approaches which I explore in chapter four. Moreover, the analytical chemistry laboratory was not appropriate for 30 students which is too small and too crowded. Therefore, sometimes, it was very difficult for me to observe all of my students’ activities and to inhale the fresh air.
The list problems above are my reflection on the problems that I found in the unit that I taught. In fact, I am really careful to write these all problems to avoid the ethical issues which related to my institution without ignore the authenticity of my writing. Furthermore, I will explore my students’ voice within the problems and dilemmas of Analytical Chemistry Practicum. It doesn’t mean for supporting and contradicting my views, but I think that it will be powerful to explore other voices in my writing.