Practical Work in School Science: an Account of an Inquiry

Practical Work in School Science was a report giving an account of an inquiry sponsored by the Gulbenkian Foundation into the nature and purpose of practical work in school science teaching in England and Wales. The working group was chaired by J F Kerr and the report was published in 1963.

The report noted that in England and Wales, more than in most other countries, science teaching was notable for the special importance which teachers attached to practical work. The inquiry set out to discover what were the particular ends which teachers of science considered should be achieved by demonstration 'experiments' and by individual work at the school laboratory benches.

Five experienced field workers from five universities formed the team to collect and sift the information. Teachers were asked:
*what do you consider to be the ends for which you should organise practical work
*how are you going about it
*what are the difficulties in the way?

I) Introduction
II) Plan of inquiry
III) The purpose of practical work
IV) The nature of practical work
V) Practical examinations
VI) Conditions for practical work
VII) Particular aspects of practical science
VIII) Discussion of findings

A: Letters and questionnaires used in inquiry
B: Tables of statistics
C: Summaries of practical examination syllabuses
D: Definition of the degree of concordance

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