CEES students get hands-on chemistry training

CEES’ Department of Science, Technical and Vocational Education (DSTVE) and Brigham Young University (BYU), USA, are pooling their expertise to ensure the next generation of chemistry teachers receive hands on training and are industry- ready when they graduate.

Prof Jennifer Nielson with her team of an educational specialist and students from BYU recently conducted a hands-on learning chemistry through experimentation workshop for third year Bachelor of Science Education students. The two day workshop was also attended by experienced chemistry teachers who had previously attended a similar workshop. Their role at the workshop was to mentor the students.

Dr Henry Busulwa, the Chair DSTVE said that the training workshop aimed to make science realistic, usable and loveable. He added that the training had successfully shown that creativity and innovation should accompany teaching and learning. Prof Nielsen affirmed, “We do not want students to think the same and pass a standardized exam. We want them to think differently and see solutions no one else has thought”.

Samuel Sisye, a student said that teaching chemistry at lower secondary school can be difficult and abstract. The workshop had helped them breakdown chemistry concepts into easy to understand formats. The training illustrated how cheap and locally available materials can be used and reused in creative ways to solve the lack of equipment/materials problem. “We were taught how to demonstrate electrolysis using a bottle of mineral water, aluminum foil, sodium chloride and batteries. Using a balloon, we were also able to demonstrate atmospheric pressure,” Sisye said.

He added that the workshop had increased his skills in observation, predications and fair testing. “Previously our lesson plans included drawing diagrams to exemplify concepts; we shall now be able to incorporate more experiments”.

Festo Bagambisa, a teacher at Our Lady of Good Counsel Gayaza shared his experience after attending a similar workshop last year. He noted that he was able to add more activities into his lesson plans which enabled his students to remember content better and appreciate the chemistry subject. He added that this form of student-centered learning had empowered his students to transfer their experiences to other learning situations.

Dr Busulwa called for more skills trainings and mentorship interactions between trainee and in- service teachers to produce better quality teachers. He urged in-service teachers to always feedback their experiences to the School of Education in order to improve teacher training programmes.


student Brent Long, Anne Cameron, Prof. Jennifer Nielson and student Brent Kamba