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The situation with practical work in physics education in Laos
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Science and Mathematics Education.
2008 (English)In: Proceedings of the XIII. IOSTE Symposium: The use of scince and technology education for peace and sustainable development / [ed] Bulent Cavas, Ankara, Turkey: Palme publication & bookshops ltd.co. , 2008, 559-565 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the results of a study on the situation with and the opinions about practical work in physics at high school and university levels in Laos. The research tools used for data collection were questionnaires and interviews. The total number of informants for this study was 678, including 631 first year science students from School of Foundation Studies, 26 lecturers from universities and teacher training colleges, and 20 physics teachers from high schools. The students from School of Foundation Studies and their lecturers answered the open-ended questions, while the structured interviews were used to collect data from informants in high schools. The findings indicate that the absolute majority of students show high appreciation of practical activities in physics. However, some lecturers and students expressed critic about the quality of instruction and process of the practical work organization. The lack of laboratory and demonstration equipment in high schools and universities in Laos was an issue of concern for many students and physics teachers. All informants were convinced about the importance of practical work in physics but they were all unhappy about the current situation with practical activities in physics teaching in Laos.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ankara, Turkey: Palme publication & bookshops ltd.co. , 2008. 559-565 p.
Keyword [en]
demonstrations, laboratory work, Lao PDR, practical activities, diagnostic study
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-42085DiVA: diva2:408559
Conference
13th IOSTE Symposium, Izmir, Turkey, September 21-26, 2008.
Available from: 2011-04-05 Created: 2011-04-05 Last updated: 2014-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The role of practical work in physics education in Lao PDR
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The role of practical work in physics education in Lao PDR
2011 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this thesis is to get a better understanding of the role of practical work in physics education in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). The Lao PDR is one of least developed countries in the world with a weak base for science, and poor market opportunities for science graduates. The rapidly expanding educational system has many problems concerning quality of the infrastructure and staff competence.

A combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was used in the study in order to assure reliability of the results. Data was collected through questionnaires, interviews, video-recordings, and my own ethnographic experiences of working in the Lao educational system for more than thirty years. The study was informed and results analysed with help of curriculum perspective and Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT).

The findings show that Lao physics education curriculum at all levels is dominated by very traditional forms of teaching with an almost total absence of practical. Official curricular documents have statements prescribing teachers to do practical work in high school and university courses. However, few institutions have functioning equipment and skilled teachers for organising practical activities. Therefore, the majority of Lao students come to university and even can finish university without experience of practical work in physics. This shows the gap that exists between intended and implemented curricula. The majority of the students understand the importance of having practical activities in physics. However, after being exposed to laboratory experiments in an introductory physics course, they expressed criticism about the quality of instruction and the process of the practical work organisation. The laboratory group work analysis showed that discussions were mainly focused on understanding the experimental procedures, manipulating equipment, and collecting data for the report rather than on the physics content (object of activity, in CHAT terms).

Based on the research results, it is possible to suggest that a systemic approach is needed to stimulate the development of a new practical work culture in schools and universities. This approach should include training and incentives for science teachers, development of assessment strategies including practical work, maintenance structures for physics equipment, and technical support for the organisation of demonstrations and laboratory exercises.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Institutionen för fysik, Umeå universitet, 2011. 45 p.
Keyword
Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, laboratory work, Laos, pendulum experiment, physics curriculum, physics education research, practical activities
National Category
Didactics
Research subject
didactics of physics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-42134 (URN)978-91-7459-172-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2011-04-29, KBC-huset, KB3A9, Umeå University, Umeå, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2011-04-08 Created: 2011-04-06 Last updated: 2011-04-08Bibliographically approved

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