Developing Awareness of Professional Behaviors and Skills in the First-Year Chemistry Laboratory

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Chemical Education, 2018, 95 (6), pp. 947 - 953
Issue Date:
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Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Students in first-year chemistry classes come from a variety of backgrounds, with many students unaware of the qualities and behaviors of a professional scientist. Throughout their degree, students will gradually develop their cognitive skills, but they may not be adequately taught or assessed on their professional behavioral skills as a scientist until late in the undergraduate course. By assessing the professional skills of students in first-year chemistry practical classes, this innovation commenced the development of students' professional identity from the beginning of their university experience. The skills that were assessed included preparedness, cooperation in the group activities, working safely in the laboratory, and time management. By engaging students with professional behaviors and what it means to be a scientist during their first semester, students can potentially carry this through their whole undergraduate degree. This task was received positively by students and staff with over 50% of students believing it increased their confidence in the laboratory. Staff also saw a significant improvement in student behavior and engagement because of this task.
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