Students in Biological Sciences for Educators
420 presented their research during a seminar on
the Edgewood campus.

Biological Sciences for Educators 420 students presented their work at a Seminar presentation on the Edgewood campus as part of their Research and Service Learning module for this semester.

The Seminar showcased the students’ research and service learning projects while also celebrating, recognising and valuing their research efforts.

Topics included developing learners awareness about sex education and contraceptives; investigating the development of young children’s fine motor skills at a local day care centre; engaging “lazy” students in physical activity; and nutrition and permaculture gardens at an old age home.

Nine groups presented for up to 20 minutes with each student within the group being given the opportunity to talk about their research project.

One of the groups investigated the control of upper limb movements in people with cerebral palsy at PalsyCare in Pinetown through the development of activities. These activities included colouring in, wheeling, catch and bean picking.

Speaking about their project, students Ms Jennifer Sheokarah, Ms Nokubonga Biyela and Ms Nelisiwe Ngcungama said caregivers at the centre were not able to supervise the improvement of upper limb movement and did not provide opportunities for people with cerebral palsy to do things independently, due to a lack of human resources for this work. 

‘People with cerebral palsy at the centre had poor upper limb movement before our activities were implemented and supervised. During our activities there was constant improvement. This shows that practice and simple activities can improve upper limb movement with supervision and motivation,’ said Sheokarah.

The students believe that caregivers at the centre should consult with physiotherapists on appropriate activities, then implement them as a cost effective method.

‘The centre should also design a programme with simple activities to aid in improving upper limb movement and parents should be encouraged to also implement these activities at home.’

In light of the overall work by the Biological Sciences for Educators 420 students, Lecturer Dr Angela James said: ‘The students’ work was connected to their lives and that of the community they engaged with. Their “learning in action” has relevance for greater development for the students personally and professionally. The students said every project has “been an exciting, frustrating and a great learning experience.’

‘Service learning and research knowledge and skills are excellent foundations for undergraduate student teachers for life-long learning. In fact, all university students should be engaged in a structured service learning module during their study programme, as agents of community and sustainable development socially, economically and environmentally.’

The seminar was well attended by students, staff, placement managers, family members and friends.