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Most units at Deakin have had to reduce the amount of time students spend doing practical activities in the laboratory so it is vital that students, staff and those managing school budgets see the relevance as well as the worth of practical activities.
These aims taken together help students to appreciate both the method of scientific enquiry and the professional attitudes of the discipline. While not all practical classes will cover the full set of aims, through the semester the practical program should cover a range of learning aims, such as:
(modified from Allison, 1995)
Make sure you are quite clear of the learning objectives of each practical activity before you enter the lab to take a class so that you can spell them out to students. If both you and the students are clear on what is to be achieved in the session then you can not only plan activities appropriately but finish the class with a sense of a job well done.
You may also need to brush up on theory relevant to the practical to give you depth of understanding. If you have this, you are more likely to get through? to the students.
Find two different practical activities in the lab manual for your unit. Read through the aims or objectives for each and consider how you might be able to facilitate students achieving these.