The general objectives for the course were two fold. The first was to address the safety issues associated with laboratory classes and the second to provide the new demonstrators with some teaching hints/skills. Some specific points included identifying and avoiding hazardous situations, basic first aid, demonstrator's rights and responsibilities, what makes a good demonstrator and how to stimulate students.
The workshop commenced with a session which concentrated on safety issues, particularly how to avoid accidents. Rules and practices for safe laboratory conduct were introduced, and although, some of the more common safety rules were well known to the demonstrators a re-examination of the rules highlighted the importance of safety in the laboratories. Potentially hazardous situations were identified through a series of examples and scenarios. Some of these examples included a description of past accidents and a discussion on possible measures which could have been taken to avoid such accidents. Sources of information on the hazards of chemical substances were introduced, for example, laboratory safety texts, chemical hazards texts, videos and MSDS databases. Finally, the rights and responsibilities of the demonstrator were outlined. The issue of "duty of care" was of particular importance and was discussed in detail.
The question of what to do in case of an accident/emergency was addressed with some basic first aid. Comprehensive first aid was beyond the scope of the workshop and instead, emphasis was on what should be done by the demonstrator for the patient before the arrival of professional help. Demonstrators were instructed on what to do in case of a student collapsing, having a fit or an asthma attack. Preliminary treatment for accidents like cuts, chemical splashes and burns was also covered. The education session took the form of an open discussion in which all members of the group were encouraged to provide information on their views of various aspects of laboratory teaching. Some of the issues discussed included the questions "why have laboratory classes?" "what is the role of the demonstrator?" and "what makes a good demonstrator?" Responses to these questions were quite varied and produced very lively discussion and debate. The question of what makes a good demonstrator was approached from the perspective of asking the workshop participants to recall the best demonstrator from their own undergraduate experience and then explaining why this person was considered the best; that is, what were their qualities which made them stand out? During the discussions it became apparent that most people had different answers to these seemingly simple questions and this highlighted the need for laboratory supervisors to be flexible in their teaching approach. The workshop concluded with a short session of some "what would you do if.....?" scenarios. Again, these produced good discussion and some debate.
|What aspect of the course did you find most useful?||
discussion format (11), |
what makes a good lab supervisor (9),
legal and safety issues (9)
teaching skills (8).
|What aspect of the course did you find least useful?||first aid (13) [too little information (7) and known material from first aid training (6)].|
|Would you have liked to receive more information on any of the topics covered in the course? Please specify.||
first aid (7), |
safety/chemical hazards (4),
rights and responsibilities (3)
"What to do if..?" scenarios (2).
|Was there anything omitted from the course which you feel should have been included? Please specify.||
communication skills (4) [giving effective prelabs (2), giving precise instructions (2)], |
safety issues (4) [chemical storage (2), demonstrations of safety procedures (2)]
more academic staff involvement (3).
|Please cite as: Mocerino, M., Sheppard, P. and Thornton, B. (1997). Chemistry Demonstrators' Workshop. In Pospisil, R. and Willcoxson, L. (Eds), Learning Through Teaching, p227-228. Proceedings of the 6th Annual Teaching Learning Forum, Murdoch University, February 1997. Perth: Murdoch University. http://lsn.curtin.edu.au/tlf/tlf1997/mocerino2.html|