Set the Table
Just as the enjoyment of a meal can be affected by the setting in which it is served (ambience, fellowship, & service) so is the learning of chemistry impacted by the classroom environment. Students deserve a safe learning environment.
Safety in the chemistry lab can not be over emphasized. It seems that academia is less diligent than academia in compliance with safe practices. The chemistry teacher needs to consistently model and enforce good safety practices for the sake of student safety. Also by example and attitude, chemistry teachers can help students learn to approach all dangerous activities with respect for the safety of themselves and others.
The concept of respect for oneself and for others also applies to learning outside of the lab setting. Drafting a class contract together is one way for students and teachers to discuss what a learning environment requires and why. It is best to set up expectations and consequences at the start of the year for classroom conduct. The contract can be complimented by additional 'Operating Proceduresí which can head off lots of questions down the line.
Finally, teamwork is an important aspect of the learning environment and is a characteristic that can be developed in the chemistry classroom. High school students exhibit the entire spectrum of possibilities in their attitudes towards cooperation. Typically, and with limited success, students periodically work in teams for grades on various science activities. Team builders can be used to foster teamwork on the classroom.
Set the Table (establish a safe-learning environment)
|Lab Safety||Class Contract & Procedures||Team Builders|
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