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Volume :16 Issue : 64 2002      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Teaching Science in the Intermediate Schools in USA, Japan, UK, and Saudi Arabia: A Comparative Field Study

Auther : Ibrahim A. Al-Mohaissin

This study aims at surveying and comparing science teaching in public intermediate schools in four countries: USA, Japan, UK, and Saudi Arabia. The study is carried out on the basis of the following four aspects: general aspects of teaching science, science teachers, reality and obstacles of science teaching, and science curricula. the researcher prepared a two-part questionnaire; the first part deals with general information about school and science teaching services. The second part comprises an interview schedule for teachers. Each country is represented by a sample selected from some intermediate schools. Schools were investigated during the field visits; through interviewing all science teachers, and some administrators, and through the direct examination of the reality of science teaching in schools.

This study has come out with the following conclusions:

1#The US excelled in the general aspects of science teaching; e.g. number of students for each teacher, availability of science teaching equipments and services. Japan excelled in the annual number of science teaching hours.

2#The American teachers are the most qualified, and trained; the British teachers come second to the Americans in these aspects. The Saudi teachers, on the other hand, are the least qualified and trained among all.

3#Science teaching methods vary in all countries. In US and UK, for example, the teaching method is more like the individual teaching built on the co-operative learning, centered around students hands on experience and lab activities. In Japan and Saudi Arabia, science teaching is based on teachers verbal lecturing.

It seems that there are similarities in some of the problems facing science teachers in relevant countries: all of them reported the insufficient time assigned for science teaching, large number of pupils in a class (except for USA) and variation in their academic levels and pupils negative motivation. Saudi and British teachers report poor equipment and tools.

4#Two types of science curriculum were detected in this study: rigid curricula applied in Saudi Arabia and Japan, and flexible curricula applied in USA and UK. In spite of the different methods applied to science teaching, there are still some similarities in their contents.

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