The importance of practical work in the teaching and learning of integrated natural sciences and health education at the University of Namibia, Rundu Campus
This research paper reports on the importance of practical work in the teaching and learning of integrated natural sciences and health education (INSHE) at Rundu campus. This research was triggered by Ministry of Education report of 2004 which raised growing concerns about the amount and quality of practical work carried out in secondary schools that have both suffered as a result of the impact of the national and international tests in science worldwide. This emanated from a high percentage of secondary school science teachers who experienced a fall on time spent on practical work that appeared to be between one third and a half of all lesson durations. The aim of this study was to enhance the understanding of theory by using practical work. The study adopted a mixed approach method in reporting informants’ views as data was collected from several laboratory experiments where it was found out that the informants lacked rudimentary knowledge, methods and skills. It is against this backdrop that this research used questionnaires and semi – structured (stimulated – recall) interviews for the purpose of providing allogamy of claims and ideas. This study involved a total of ninety – three (93) pre -service INSHE student – teachers. These informants were purposefully selected due to lack of exposure in practical work from their former schools. The findings from this study indicated that there is both a degree of exposure and enhancement of conceptual understanding of theory using practical work after student teachers have been exposed to practical work at the University of Namibia, Rundu Campus (UNAM:RC). The results also revealed that there is a need for improvement in administering practical work in schools. It is evident that practical work plays a very important role in the teaching and learning of integrated natural sciences subjects.