The Philosophy of Laboratory Instruction - ACS Publications

Before we embark on the question of courses in chemistry and individual student laboratory practice for such courses, it may he well to discuss the ai...
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Nicholas D. Cheronis

Brooklyn College The City University of New York Brooklyn

The Philosophy of Laboratory Instruction

The term "philosophy of laboratory instruction" signifies that body of principles underlying the learning of the science of chemistry by individual laboratory practice. I shall try to differentiate between the teaching and the learning processes. It will be generally agreed that laboratory instruction should be organized on some kind of basic principles through which the student-or the learner-will be able to obtain a definite amount of knowledge in a certain area of chemistry. Before we embark on the question of courses in chemistry and individual student laboratory practice for such courses, it may he well to discuss the aims of education and particularly of science education. Alfred North Whitehead puts it concisely when he says that "what we should aim at is men who possess both culture and expert knowledge in some special direction" (1). I do not believe that anyone will disagree with this broad objective. Further, everyone will agree that the aim of science education is to obtain expert knowledge in one of the areas of science. And since in the present discussion we are primarily interested in general chemistry, I propose the following as the aims of any introductory course in chemistry, a t either the high school or the college level. The chief objective of any introductory course in chemistry is to study the maten'als of our world, their nature, properties, structure, and transformations in such a manner as to cmtn'bute to the student's general education as a citizen. More specifically such a study will try to attain the following: To eive .. an understandine of the historical develooment of

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