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INTRODUCTION I always think that teaching Science in Primary School is an easy task but actually it is not.

From my experience, I have encountered with many teaching and learning problems especially in preparing my lesson to suite my students level of proficiency, and most of all to gain my students interest in learning the science concepts. In line with the aim of the primary school science curriculum to develop pupils interest and creativity through everyday experiences and investigations that promote the acquisition of scientific and thinking skills as well as the inculcation of scientific attitudes and values, as a science teacher there are many obstacles and hindered towards that objectivity. To mention, students difficulties in learning science concepts, and difficulties in reading data, and also non fluency in English Language is a matter of concern. To overcome the matter, here are suggestions to gain students interest and motivation and thus improve students performance in the subject. 1.0 Students Difficulties in Learning Science. The issue of students difficulties in learning science according to Professor Dr. Raju, (2012: USM) was due to the struggle that students face is real given the current syllabus. This is the reason why students ideas do not always evolve as quickly as the rate of concept presentation in most text book and many teachers-designed units of instruction. Dr. Raju (2012: USM) also point that the subjects are often treated as formulae that have to be memorised and regurgitated in exams He argue that if they make one small mistake, they get it all wrong. That is their main fear and it is reasonable because they want to score. He added that they need to have something to grasp, otherwise they will feel that they are blindly following instructions and will resist them. That is why they find Science difficult. They do not understand why they have to study it and will refuse to do it. The second problem that students encounter in learning science is the English Language proficiency among them are low. This mean they are not able to understand some of the scientific terms and this makes learning difficult for them. This is true in the real scenario of teaching Science subject in English Language. The fact is that the language used by teachers and textbooks may confuse some students. There is often unexplored conflict between students everyday experiences and the classroom or textbook presentation. Further, immediate introductions of scientific definitions and formulas are not necessarily convincing or meaningful to students if they havent had sufficient experience with the ideas first. Traditionally many students engage in activities after presentation and discussion about the concept. These activities tend to be verification rather than inquirybased where students construct an understanding based on observations and evidence they gather. 1

The third problem is that students faced difficulties in reading science concepts. Understanding is often expected before students have a chance to adequately explore and convince themselves of what they have been told. Ideas are often imposed on students, rather than allowing them to have the opportunity to make sense of something by exploring and developing ideas or models over time. As such, teachers intention to cover the curriculum without devoting enough time for building true understanding is

counterproductive. Future, the use of pictures, diagrams, and two-dimensional models in textbooks and other instructional materials if not properly modelling can be misleading, and result in misconceptions. In the case, teachers and schools often erroneously assume that students understand a concept based on the words students use when describing something. Scientific terminology is not sufficient evidence of learning unless you can ensure that students use the terms with meaning. Dr. Raju, (2012: USM) argue that if we want young people to like Science, we need to inspire them; not force them to learn formulae. There are many inspiring tales of Asian role models to choose from. For example, Europe learned Arithmetic from Al-Khwarizmi, from which the term algorithm was derived. He agreed that by telling these types of stories will enhance learning. Lastly, problem students encounter in study science is the difficulties to understand some ideas. Some ideas are just too abstract and difficult for many students who are still at a concrete learning stage. Memorization of ideas can cause more difficulty, particularly for low proficiency students. However, this may be overcome by teachers demonstrate an active role by focussing on learning as a process whereby students are actively involved in experiments and manipulating materials or experiencing the phenomenon individually or in small groups.

CONCLUSION In conclusion, learning Science is still a problem to some of the primary school students. This includes text book and many teachers-designed units of instruction not appropriate to students interest, students low proficiency in English as the subject is taught in English Language, and students facing difficulties in reading and understanding science concepts and scientific terminology. A difficulty to understand some ideas is also one of the problems because they are too abstract and difficult for many students who are still at a concrete learning stage. However, as a trained Science teacher, one should be able to handle all this obstacles by emphasising teaching science as a process so that the students will be able to experience the learning themselves and hence promote a positive learning behaviour among them. Last but not least, learning Science should involve hand-on activities so that students can sense and this will motivate their interest in the subject. 2 (900 words)

References Suzieana., U.N., Nurjehan., M., and Sharifah., A. (19/02/2012). ISSUES: Reimagining Science. New Straits Times Online. Retrieved on 5/4/2012 at:

http://www.nst.com.my/channels/learning-curve/issues-reimagining-science-1.48634

Appendix

19 February 2012 | Last updated at 10:22PM

ISSUES: Reimagining Science


Professor Raju (USM) By SUZIEANA UDA NAGU, NURJEHAN MOHAMED AND SHARIFAH ARFAH education@nst.com.my AROUSE CURIOSITY: The trick to encouraging young Malaysians to like Science subjects is to inspire them with successful tales of Asian inventors and scientists, says a mathematician CK Raju, Professor of Mathematics LEARNING difficulties in Science subjects are often linked to poor teaching and lack of aptitude for them. But Professor of Mathematics CK Raju is convinced that the root of the problem is the imposition of religious biasness on practical knowledge. If the Indian academic had his way, Science and Mathematics would be taught in schools with an entirely new philosophy. The Western philosophy of Science and Mathematics is religiously oriented, says Raju, a visiting professor at the Mathematics department in University Sains Malaysia (USM). This means that present-day (Science subjects) are intertwined with theological complexities, which make them needlessly tough. Raju, who wrote 11 books on Mathematics, was commenting on calls for a review of teaching methods for Science-stream subjects as a way to raise students interest, following reports that the percentage of Science stream students had dropped to 29 per cent this year. Although the matter had recently resurfaced, concerns over declining enthusiasm for the Sciences among young Malaysians have been expressed since two decades ago (see accompanying report). National Union of the Teaching Profession secretary-general Loke Yim Pheng concedes that Science subjects are demanding. Good students have no problems coping but for average scorers opting for the Science stream, it will be a tough decision, she told the New Straits Times recently. The struggle that students face is real given the (nature of the) current syllabus. Raju says: The subjects are often treated as formulae that have to be memorised and regurgitated in exams.
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If they make one small mistake, they get it all wrong. That is their main fear and it is reasonable because they want to score. The father of two sons, who are now physicists, understands young peoples study habits. They need to have something to grasp, otherwise they will feel that they are blindly following instructions and will resist them. That is why they find Science and Mathematics difficult. They do not understand why they have to study it and (will refuse to do it), he says. Raju is certain that students and teachers have never been asked to ponder on philosophical questions about Mathematics or Science such as why do we study the subjects the way we do now? or is there a better way to learn or teach them? Teachers resort to rote learning to teach tough subjects. But that is not how you learn Science and Mathematics. You need to experience these lessons through experiments. Otherwise, students cannot take ownership of their knowledge, says Raju, who teaches a postgraduate class comprising in-service and potential Mathematics educators. The Education Ministry has been called to form a committee to study the cause of, as well as find solutions to, the declining interest in Science and Mathematics. The committee is expected to carry out a comprehensive study to find ways to achieve the target of 60 per cent of students in the Science stream and the remaining in the Arts stream. Raju hopes that the Malaysian government will take this chance to reimaging a new curriculum that is free of colonial influence. It is time for children to learn Science and Mathematics for practical use, the way Asian inventors and scientists created them. The Science and Mathematics that we know today are deeply rooted in the Western system, which is interwoven with theology. If we stick to their practical value, these subjects become easier, he says. Rajus Calculus Without Limits course, which he taught to a group of Tibetan monks with no formal education, was simple enough to allow them to pass the test. The experiment was also conducted on four groups of students postgraduates and undergraduates including those pursuing Applied Mathematics and those majoring in Media Studies at USMs School of Mathematical Sciences. Some 40 per cent of the Tibetan monks who sat the Calculus exam managed to do the sums, an encouraging result considering that they never went to school. The USM students naturally did better in the test, especially the non-Mathematics cohort. This proves that when you dispense with the theological complexities, Calculus can be mastered in a short time. Raju believes that technology makes Science and Mathematics even simpler.

With the right software, students can now explore theoretically and experimentally notions that were impossible 20 years ago. This will give them a realistic idea of Science that it is not all grand theories, says Raju. Sharifah Natalia Syed Bahari, a Form Five Biology teacher at SMK Bukit Saujana in Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan, encourages her students to go to the Net to read up on the subject. This is my way of keeping the class interesting because most of my students picked Biology as their last choice, she says. When interest in Science is low, inspirational stories of Asian scientists and inventors may do the trick, says Raju. If we want young people to like Science, we need to inspire them; not force them to learn formulae. There are many inspiring tales of Asian role models to choose from. For example, Europe learned Arithmetic from Al-Khwarizmi, from which the term algorithm was derived. Let us tell these types of stories, he adds. Raju encourages Malaysian curriculum developers to consider embedding stories in Science and Mathematics lessons la George F. Simmons Differential Equations with Applications and Historical Notes. Described by mathematicians as an absolute gem of a textbook, the author weaves anecdotes into the text. There is an entertaining narrative behind each problem, says Raju, who believes stories have the power to arouse curiosity and make learning enjoyable. He believes telling an interesting tale sets the stage for learning. Students are more receptive to learning once you win their attention with the story. Producing new textbooks call for a heavy investment. There must be political will to fund research groups to find the stories and publish such books, he says. Raju has faith that Malaysia can take the lead in decolonising Science and Mathematics. Malaysia has favourable conditions to implement these changes. Misconceptions in Science Alerts to Student Difficulties and Misconceptions in Science Some students will fail to learn ideas because the subject matter material may be at a level that does not match the developmental learning stage of the student or the student may hold on to tenacious alternative conceptions (sometimes referred to as misconceptions) that were not identified prior to instruction and considered during the stages of instruction. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment are significantly improved when teachers are aware of the
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developmental considerations and the research findings on commonly held alternative conceptions. If We Are Teaching, Why Arent Our Students Learning? Research, examination of curriculum materials, and observations of students and teachers point out some of the identified reasons for student confusion and misconceptions: 1. Students ideas do not always evolve as quickly as the rate of concept presentation in most textbooks and in many teacher-designed units of instruction. 2. Language used by teachers and textbooks may confuse some students. 3. There is often unexplored conflict between students everyday experiences and the classroom or textbook presentation. 4. Immediate introductions of scientific definitions and formulas (many which are abstract) are not necessarily convincing or meaningful to students if they havent had sufficient experience with the ideas first. Traditionally many students engage in activities after presentation and discussion about the concept. These activities tend to be verification rather than inquiry-based where students construct an understanding based on observations and evidence they gather. 5. Understanding is often expected before students have a chance to adequately explore and convince themselves of what they have been told. Ideas are often imposed on students, rather than allowing them to have the opportunity to make sense of something by exploring and developing ideas/models over time. Covering the curriculum without devoting enough time for building true understanding is counterproductive. 6. Beliefs resulting from personal experience, intuition, and common sense lead students to form their own ideas and models, often well before formal instruction. These experiences and feelings seem to contradict what students read in their textbooks and/or are told by their teacher. Even with instruction, it is often difficult for students to give up these ideas, or they may revert back to them later even though it appears they may have learned the correct ideas in class. 7. Instruction which fails to identify what students initial ideas are can leave students erroneous ideas unchanged. Its similar to a doctor diagnosing an illness. You wouldnt prescribe a course of treatment without examining the symptoms first. 8. Teachers and schools (even tests!) often erroneously assume that students understand a concept based on the words students use when describing something (e.g.: evaporation). Scientific terminology is not sufficient evidence of learning unless you can ensure that students use the terms with meaning. 9. Demonstrations used by teachers are often passive where students sit back and observe without manipulating materials or experiencing the phenomenon individually or in small groups. 10. Pictures, diagrams, and 2-dimensional models in textbooks and other instructional materials can be misleading, and result in misconceptions. 11. Some common analogies used to explain ideas can cause difficulty because the similarity is not complete. 12. Everyday use of certain terms, often used in non scientific contexts, contributes to students confusion. Some words have many different connotations in the English language and the scientific word can easily be confused with a common use (e.g.: heat rises).

13. Some ideas are just too abstract and difficult for many students who are still at a concrete learning stage (empty space between atoms and molecules). 14. Memorization of ideas can cause more difficulty, particularly for academically good

Available at: http://www.nst.com.my/channels/learning-curve/issues-reimagining-science1.48634