Does Marcel Marceau Have a Place in the Chemistry Laboratory?

Karma L. Pearce


A flood resulted in the Chemistry laboratories being unavailable for the last 5 weeks of teaching. Alternative peer led student learning strategies were developed to deliver the learning outcomes. The first strategy required students to video the last practical they performed before the flood ‘Marcel Marceau’ style without reagents, but narrating what they did. The following week students interviewed each other about their videoed practical. Fifty one percent of students felt the videos clarified ‘new knowledge’, while 76% either agreed or strongly agreed that they were able to identify glassware, equipment and instrumental or ‘hands on’ technique. Eighty one percent of students indicated that they would have viewed the video before their practical class if they were available. The second strategy required students to teach the application of a scientific concept to lay adults. Seventy nine percent of students felt that they understood the concept better after explaining it to an adult. While nothing can replace the ‘hands on’ experience that students gain in the laboratory, an alternative student centred learning approach incorporating peer teaching through producing laboratory videos and teaching lay adults resulted in deep learning. Student feedback suggested these activities should be incorporated into future courses.

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