Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Thinking like a pupil' can help take teaching science to another level

Published 06/05/2015 | 02:30

Teachers who tap into a child's natural sense of curiosity and 'think like a pupil' can revolutionise how science is taught, according to a new study
Teachers who tap into a child's natural sense of curiosity and 'think like a pupil' can revolutionise how science is taught, according to a new study

Teachers who tap into a child's natural sense of curiosity and 'think like a pupil' can revolutionise how science is taught, according to a new study.

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A revamped approach to teaching and learning science - a subject that many pupils have traditionally found off-putting - has already been tested by primary school teachers in the Leinster region.

There are now plans to expand the project into other parts of the country.

Researchers found these new teaching methods significantly increased pupils' engagement with science.

The RDS, Dublin City University, and Science Foundation Ireland co-ordinated the two-year research project.

"The pilot project has delivered significant measurable impact in the areas of teacher confidence and ability, and student engagement," according to the report.

"The pilot programme showed evidence of creating a community of practitioners, enhancing teachers' scientific inquiry skills and the breadth of methodologies used, increasing child-led learning, enhancing pupils' numeracy and literacy skills and ensuring the cross-curricula integration of science."

Teachers are encouraged to "think more like their pupils" when confronting science subjects.

They should tap into a child's natural curiosity about the world. The learning pilot project has encouraged teachers to develop how students think - not what they know.

Process

"It's about teachers focusing more on the process of teaching, rather than ensuring that their pupils always get the right answer," said Karen Sheeran, RDS Science & Technology Programme Executive.

"Teachers move the lesson along at a slower pace, valuing discussion in the classroom, and sharing their ideas.

"The methods have a very positive outcome on children's education in the long-term," she told the Irish Independent.

The report also said this approach helped develop "classroom confidence" and improve numeracy and literacy skills.

Irish Independent

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