>Personally, I am getting tired of everyone making everything so streamlined that students have no idea how to deal with varying methodology, hazards or think through situations.
This is an interesting point that I keep going back and forth on in my mind. I'm not clear how much detail or skill can be imparted in 14 weeks of a teaching lab. I agree that cooking from scratch is the way to learn to make a cake well, but I don't think I've ever made one without starting from a cake mix. And the cakes I make reflect that without killing anybody.
On the other hand, while most students taking chemistry as undergrads are not going to be chemists, they are likely to be expected to have lab skills when they are hired based on that course being in their transcript. I guess my aspiration for teaching labs is to empower students to know when to ask safety questions about the lab work they're asked to accomplish. I suspect that day in and day out lab experience is necessary to provide enough variation in working conditions to develop skills beyond that.
Ralph Stuart, CIH, CCHO
Environmental Safety Manager
Keene State College
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