10 SES 03 B, Parallel Paper Session
Parallel Paper Session
This paper arises from a study of 14-16 year old Secondary school students' and their teachers' perceptions of Science education (POISED) and how it influences their lives. Teachers’ perceptions of science education are influenced by factors including their identities as people and science educators, the policy and socio-cultural contexts in which they work, the pedagogic strategies they know and the resources made available to them by a school. They are also influenced by the views of the students they teach. Students' perspectives on teaching and learning (Demetriou and Wilson 2010) can help teachers reflect critically on their practice and improves the quality of schooling (McIntyre et al., 2005).
Across Europe teaching Science subjects helps students to think about the natural world and the nature of citizenship in modern society (Zgaga, 2009) and develop technological skills for its economic development. The European Union has set out to be ‘the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, sustaining economic growth and greater social cohesion’ (European Commission, 2003, 2, in Brown et al., 2008). In England, an element in the Key Stage 4 (KS4) Science curriculum for 14-16 year old students is ‘How Science Works’ (HSW) (QCA, 2006). Through it pupils learn to develop arguments, use scientific, technical and mathematical language, conventions and symbols, relevant ICT tools, and consider how and why decisions about science and technology are made and affect social, economic and environmental issues (QCA, 2006). It presents science as ‘being a practice which is both shaped by and which shapes society’ (Osborne, 2010, p. 59) and expects students to interrogate real life moral issues that are relevant to their own narrative experiences (Deakin et al., 2004).
Student engagement in Science education can be fostered through positive attitudes or progressive practices by teachers (Taylor, 2003) and improved through group discussions based on conflicting views (Bennett et al. 2004), a view encouraged in England by central government (QCA, 2006). However, many students in England perceive Science as a difficult subject, in part because of the mathematics content in Physics (Spall et al., 2004), and do not want to continue studying science even at KS4. Despite HSW, some social factors, such as ethnicity and cultural contexts, continue to affect students' views of Science education. In more developed societies there are more negative responses to questionnaire items such as, ‘I like school science better than most subjects’ (Schreiner and Sjøberg 2007). Girls had a stronger negative response than boys in this 20 country study of the Relevance of Science Education (ROSE).
This paper presents and discusses some Secondary school science teachers' perspectives on:
- How national policy frameworks and socio-cultural contexts influence teaching and learning in science education
- How they perceive the teaching and learning of science and themselves as science educators
How they help secondary school students relate science education to society, community and home life
Bennett, J., Lubben, F., Hogarth, S. and Campbell, B. (2004) A Systematic Review of the use of Small-Group Discussions in Science Teaching with Students Aged 11-18, and their Effects on Students’ Understanding in Science or Attitude to Science. York: University of York, Department of Educational Studies, Research Paper Brown, P. Lauder, H. and Ashton, D. (2008) Globalisation and the Future of the Knowledge Economy, European Educational Research Journal, 7 (2) Deakin, C. R., Coates, M., Taylor, M., and Ritchie, S. (2004) A systematic review of the impact of citizenship education on the provision of schooling, in Research Evidence in Education, London: EPPI-Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education Demetriou, H. and Wilson, E. (2010) Children should be seen and heard: The power of student voice in sustaining new teachers Improving Schools 13 (1) 2010 McIntyre, D., Pedder, D., and Rudduck, J. (2005) Pupil voice: comfortable and uncomfortable learnings for teachers, Research Papers in Education, 20, 149-168 Osborne, J. (2010) Science for Citizenship. In J. Osborne and J. Dillon (eds), Good Practice in Science Teaching. What research has to say. 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Open University Press QCA (2006) (http://curriculum.qca.org.uk/key-stages-3-and-4/subjects/key-stage-4/science/programme-of-study/index.aspx) [accessed 30 Aug 2010] Schreiner, C. and Sjøberg, S. (2007) Science education and youth’s identity construction – two incompatible projects? In D. Corrigan, J. Dillon and R. Gunstone (eds), The Re-emergence of Values in the Science Curriculum, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers Spall, K., Stanisstreet, M., Dickson, D. and Boyes, E. (2004)The development of students’ construction of biology and physics, International Journal of Science Education, 26 (7): 787-803 Taylor, M. (2003) Public policy in the community London: Palgrave Macmillan Zgaga, P. (2009) Higher Education and Citizenship: ‘the full range of purposes’ European Educational Research Journal, 8 (2)
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