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A Review Of Teaching & Learning In Science

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Introduction

Lilian Y.L. Lau Chemistry PGCE Curriculum Studies Assignment 1 Submission date: Monday, 8th January 2001 CS Tutor: John Parkinson PS Tutor: Sally Chapman CS1: Reflections On Teaching A Review Of Teaching & Learning In Science Index EVALUATION OF TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES 3 Disadvantages of only using SoW 3 Advantages Of Using The Sow (Compared To Using Workbooks) 4 Use of Multiple Intelligences 4 The Range And Balance Of Teaching And Learning Activities Employed 4 The Use Of Whole-Class, Group & Individual Work 6 Assessment Opportunities 6 ANALYSIS OF PRACTICAL AND WRITTEN WORK 8 (i) Practical Work 8 (ii) Written Work 10 Purposes Of Written Work In Science 10 Audit on written work 11 STRATEGIES FOR IMPROVEMENT 13 Section Evaluation 1 EVALUATION OF TEACHING AND LEARNING ACTIVITIES The science faculty at the Comprehensive depends quite closely on their Scheme Of Work (SoW) that is produced by the respective Head of Departments. Departmental and Faculty meetings have been used to revise the SoW and to develop strategies to teach it. Since there are no workbooks quite a lot of the activities are at the teachers discretion, as long as the objectives are fulfilled. Head Of Department's also write support material for their SoW such as cut outs, worksheets, spider diagrams, extension material. The schemes of work are constructivist in their approach. Each module starts of with some sort of elicitation exercise followed by a descriptive, reflective and speculative hierarchy. All modules finish off with an End of Module Test (EMT) as required by government guidelines. I have found that there are advantages and disadvantages when teaching is solely based on the SoW. DISADVANTAGES OF ONLY USING SOW Without workbooks I found it very difficult to pitch the level for the various classes. The faculty worked on a spiral curriculum, so topics may be met repeatedly throughout KS3, building on previous knowledge. It took a while to realise when to stop when teaching a topic and pupils are sometimes impatient and think they have done the whole lot before. ...read more.

Middle

In my experience I find this affects pupils motivation during the first year of science since there are not many practicals to do at all. An audit was conducted for Y7-Y9; the order of practicals during Y7-8 would differ since the order is staggered. Full details of the audits are in appendix. Focusing on Y7 there are not many practicals for pupils. During the first month, all pupils do a short course introducing them to Science at the school. This covers basic skills and investigative write up techniques. The first two lessons introduces them to the basic skills e.g. reading a thermometer, measuring water in a measuring cylinder, setting up apparatus to heat water etc. This is done in a circus of experiments and they are promoted to record their results. During this initial period, pupils are introduced to the safety aspect in science. The pupils work individually to spot the hazards in a picture and identify how to correct it if appropriate. The following three lessons are based on a short investigation: Lesson 1 - Introduction, concentrate on planning and stating aims Lesson 2 - Results and Drawing a Graph Lesson 3 - Discussion and Feedback These lessons are focused to promote basic skills in writing up experiments and inspire investigative ideas. The main aim between Y7-Y9 is to arouse and maintain interest in science (Kerr, 1963) and the aim is still highly relevant today. So how does the school's SoW fit into this statement? The introduction course aims to introduce investigative skills yet the skills are not used until Y8. Lets look at the outline for 7E: 1) 1) Physics 1 (Phys1) - Light, Sound, circuits, energy transfer 2) Looking into Life 1 (Lil1) - Cells 3) Chemistry 1 (Chem1) - Classifying materials 4) Physics 2 (Phys 2) - Being reviewed 5) Chemistry 2 (Chem2) - Separation 6) Study Skills and Revision 7) ...read more.

Conclusion

Being constructivist in its approach, elicitation exercises and my use of feedback information are essential in making the method work. I would need to improve and develop elicitation exercises such as Snowballs and Give Me 5 focusing on maximum participation. To organise or use any method Class Room Management and Control is a concern since it can stun effectiveness of an activity. The organisation of practical work is questionable because there seems to be no flow or a common aim. Head of Departments constructs SoWs independently and there is a need for them to collaborate and decide on structure of practical exercises. The focus seems to be more on breakdown of content rather than progression of learning outcomes. It is necessary for the teachers to know the focus of the practical exercises for each topic and for each year. This would be a valuable inclusion in the faculty handbook and will also help to focus further developments of the SoWs. This has surfaced the questions I need to ask in my next school to help me focus my teaching on choice of practical work and the overall development objectives. It is tempting to provide notes for revision however I quickly realised that pupils do not respond to it and find it very boring, even in short periods. The balance of notes for revising versus writing to aid learning leans greatly to the latter. Finding or making opportunities to change passive activities to learning activities is an important role teaching. To further this the ability to pitch levels and keep written work challenging is vital. There is also a need for formal written work, which is unavoidable in science. Being able to write up an experiment fully in KS3 is necessary to develop good writing techniques early on since it is an assessed skill in KS4. Although the availability for me to alter the frequency of formal write-ups is limited the need to make written work active, not passive (copying), is an important consideration. 2 - 2 - - 1 - ...read more.

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