Chemistry is one of the most interesting and absorbing sectors of scientific studies. It is most widely and rightfully quoted as “Chemistry is the life of day-to-day science”. More than often it noticed that there are many students who particularly suffer from a sense of discomfort if they are required to work in a Chemistry Lab. Most education institutes generally have a required and well-equipped laboratory to the serve the purpose of practicing chemistry as a subject beyond the theoretical knowledge received.
In the study of science as a stream both in biology as well chemistry merely acquiring theoretical knowledge through classroom teaching is nowhere close to being sufficient. The study of Chemistry without practical execution of the same is a man without the nervous system. Working in a chemistry lab involves various risks which contribute to the low or lack of confidence among students. Proficient working in a laboratory environment with the required and appropriate set of guidance acts as a key to boost the confidence level of the students. Proper handling of the chemicals and laboratory essentials based on scientific processes becomes crucial in this case.
Apart from that another major reason to have a low confidence in this learning requirement is the lack of experience in handling the different apparatus in sync with the maintenance of the required rules of safety in the course of independent as well as group work in the chemistry laboratory.
Irrespective of all the guideline, training and supervision that is provided by the teacher’s one safety is only ensured by using the correct methodology of execution.
Certain base level safety awareness should be spread among students to strengthen their confidence, such as:
- The chemical bottles need to have tags with special mention of the correct in-store and opening date.
- The importance of being attentive towards the evident laboratory hazards so that they can be rectified at the right time.
- Make sure that all the chemicals and the areas in which they are stored are aptly labeled.
- Keep a tight note of expiry dates.
- Follow the conditions required to for storage of these chemicals.
- When exposed to extreme situations and perilous toxic, flammable and corrosive material be sure that you get acquainted with the necessary defensive procedures.
- Chemicals must be kept in groups that match its compatibility.
- Do not disturb the worker while he or she is performing a chemical test.
- Acquire proper knowledge of lab types of equipment.
Having a teacher supervisor in a practical class is important. Promoting independence among students generates confidence. The tutors must give proper guidance in challenging scenarios to encourage a student’s active participation rather than constantly relying on the help of supervisors. Teachers should concentrate on enhancing the learning process of the student in the course of the laboratory. Create a scope where the students can focus on an individual thing. With a proper explanation of the theory as a reference to other fields in the course, the integrity of practical classes can be improved. More concentration in facilitating the lab works rather than mere lecture session can help motivate the students and consequently result in enhanced confidence levels.
There are particular hygiene and personal safety measures to abide by while working in a chemistry lab. They are as follows:
- Wear safety glasses and laboratory coat.
- As per requirement, put on a chemical proof glove.
- Apt lab shoes are a must.
- Breathing mask should be used if required and that too with professional assistance.
- For any chemical handling related work make sure that you use extracted wet benches.
- Mouth sucking in a pipette while in a laboratory can prove to be hazardous.
- Keep any sort of food away from the areas where the chemicals are stored.
- Not an inch of the skin should be exposed in a lab scenario.
- Spilling in the lab is dangerous. In such cases, students must be guided to instantly clean it up.
It is mandatory for every education institute to make sure that they have all preventive measures and types of equipment. The facility of a virtual laboratory is one of the latest concepts that have been introduced to provide the students with a more ‘at ease’ experience. If the guidelines are followed properly it will help in maximizing their confidence.