As part of efforts to demonstrate the importance of science practicals to learning, Cambridge International recently took A’ Level students of Oxbridge Tutorial College through a practical experiment in Biology to enable them take record, observe the colour change, as well as to do quantitative and qualitative analysis of data.
Speaking at the A’ Level activation recently, the Biology teacher of Oxbridge Tutorial College, Mr. Shona Oluwasegun said the essence of Cambridge International Education was to develop research skills in the students so that they could plan an experiment, adding that A’ Level is more of the traditional Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics.
In testing for biological molecule for instance, he said the students must be able to identify a concentration of samples of glucose, sucrose and starch given to them.
“When I carry out a test and based on the particular test carried out, you are going to have different colours, so the colour that they are observing will give the students an idea of the concentration of that particular sugar.”
Asked why schools usually have alternative to practicals, rather than the practicals itself, he said: “One cannot overemphasise the importance of practicals for science students, a science student that cannot practicalise what he has learnt in class is basically more of an art student. You will just know theory and no practical whether it is Chemistry, Biology or Physics.”
He said the ministry of education should be able to emphasise the importance of practicals for students, which should be done on a weekly basis, adding that they should have an idea of how they will design an experiment as it is the beauty of science itself.
Oluwasegun described his two years experience in teaching the students as exciting, saying, “we have different students with different levels of IQ and temperament. There are different aspects of teaching students to be able to adjust to the level of understanding. We call the test semi-quantitative because it gives us an idea of their understanding.”
The Regional Director at Cambridge International, Mr. Juan Visser said each experiment helps students develop a sound understanding of how biology concept and processes work; and how its different areas fit together as a course of study which gives them valuable opportunities to develop their skills and understanding.
“Access to practical experience is an important part of teaching and learning in biology and learners benefit from taking part in different forms of practical activities,” he said, adding that Cambridge International supports teachers to deliver practical science through its support material on the school support hub, information and guidance available on its website, as well as training.
Some of the students, who spoke to THISDAY, expressed excitement about being in A’ Level class and going through the practical experience, as they never did during their O’ Level.
Miss Faheedat Bakare, who completed her O’ Level at FIEF Academy, Isolo said rather than wait for admission at UNILAG, her father suggested that she goes for A’ Level, adding that there was no form of practical in her former school.
“It is more of practicals here and everything you want is provided.”
Miss Sonia Bendre,17, an Indian said she was only exposed to alternative to practicals in her former school, British International School, Victoria Island, adding, “I learn a lot more here and it is exciting.”
Master Aigbe Ojo, 16, from Greensprings School, who plans to study medicine, said Cambridge education is recognised all over the world and opens doors of opportunities.
He said during his O’ Level, students were not allowed to handle the science apparatus compared to where he is currently.