A new survey conducted by the Royal Society of Chemistry has revealed that trainee and first year science teachers feel unprepared to teach science practical lessons due to Covid restrictions. More specifically, the research shows that more than half (52 per cent) of trainee and first year chemistry teachers said that they felt unprepared to teach practical chemistry lessons.
One teacher notes: “I have not been able to perform any class practicals at all. This is a huge section of the science curriculum that is completely untested.” Additionally, a TES survey of GCSE and A-level teachers confirmed that one in five schools had not yet reopened its science laboratories for practical work.
The limited access to laboratories has particularly caused concern amongst newly qualified science teachers. Many have “a fear of doing chemistry practicals because of limited experience of how to deliver one.” More experienced teachers have not had the time to fully assist trainee teachers with their career development due to Covid restrictions. Furthermore, this has had a negative impact on their overall school placement experience.
However, with newer technology development it is now possible for less experienced science teachers to teach required practicals with confidence. Online learning platforms such as CoreSciences fully enable teachers to deliver science practicals via lab simulation. No physical laboratory or lab equipment is required, meaning that there is no potential of risk or danger if any mistakes are to be made. The platform is incredibly easy for both teachers and students to grasp, ensuring that knowledge is quickly consolidated regardless of capability.
Overall, despite the current lack of support, newer science teachers do not need to feel excluded or out of their depth when it comes to teaching practicals. Online labs are a safe and simple way of teaching essential required practical routines and complementing their overall teacher training experience.