SCIENCE Masters student Aydin Inal has had his thesis published in one refereed international journal and six different conference and seminar proceedings and publications, while his research was in progress.
Inal's thesis, titled Practical science process skills in physics, with special reference to test item assessment and classification, entailed setting up a test programme with 10 questions and practical exercises involving laboratory instruments.
According to Inal, a major component of his thesis was the development of the practical exercises, the administration of the test as well as a comparison of the results from the tests. His test programme was distributed around various schools in Cape Town with surprising results.
"The results are average; in certain areas they were poor because the students were most probably not familiar with the instruments in the practical section," he explains.
Inal says that a number of factors contributed to the poor results he received from the school pupils, but language was not one of them. "It is interesting because language was not the only contributing factor to the poor results because there were English second-language speakers at Model C schools, who faired better than some participants whose first language is English."
Inal is a qualified physics teacher and believes that practical work can play an important role in teaching science. "Most people do not like science because of the jargon and sometimes there is too much theoretical work that can bore people. I think that instead of telling students about science, teachers should show them how science works."
Inal will graduate cum laude this week and plans to continue teaching at STAR International School in Athlone, a private school funded by Turkish expatriates living in South Africa. A native of Turkey, Inal has been studying at UCT for three years and is thinking about making Cape Town his home.