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Learning Autobiography - reflections on my experience of learning science

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Introduction

Looking back on my science education I have come to realise that during primary and secondary school, I received quite a good backing in the sciences, although this was most evident at secondary school. During primary school, being as long ago as it is, I don't really recall any specific details from lessons, especially from the infant years. I do however recall having separate science books during the junior years and as far as I can remember, the school did put quite a lot of emphasis on science. I remember that we did carry out some practical work with circuits and rockets relating to physics and work with plants and pond life in biology, as well as some work on food webs. We also looked at changing states of matter, using water as an example. Here we looked at different forms, ie ice as a solid, water as a liquid and steam as a gas. At primary school however, I also recall that the amount of time given to science was never equal to that allocated to literacy, arithmetic or even religious education (the school was Roman Catholic). Studying science twice a week for 40 minutes was around the same time allocated to P.E. and not nearly enough as I think should be studied in primary schools! Moving onto secondary school, I remember at first we were taught science in our mixed ability form groups. ...read more.

Middle

Vygotsky claimed, "what a child can do with assistance today, she will be able to do by herself tomorrow" (Vygotsky, 1978, p.87). I also think that Bruner's spiral curriculum came into play during my learning, where my teachers introduced topics and then revisited them in cycles to build and expand on them, increasing the complexity of the topic with each visit. "A spiral arrangement of the subject matter allows an extension of each topic and a periodic revision of what has already been taught" (Bruner, 1977, p.52) With regards to my own learning, I believe that setting was advantageous to my final results of AA, although I do not believe that the way the science department operated then (1998/1999) would fit into the 'every child matters' strategy of today. Firstly, as a top set, we were given the most able teachers in all subjects. Our classes were smaller (split into two Set 1 classes across the year) with only 20 or so pupils in each set and so the time our teachers had for us one to one was greater. As far as I recall we also did more practical work than that of my friends in lower sets, even in Set 2. During lessons we did not just sit and listen to our teachers, copying out from the board or from our textbooks. ...read more.

Conclusion

Moving from A-Level to university and studying for my degree, the format of teaching and learning completely changed. Although we were able to ask advice and guidance from our lecturers and tutors, learning at university was totally our own responsibility. Here, the lectures were just lectures. We were provided with the information we needed and it was up to us to further our understanding of it. I understand why universities teach like this, but it is not my preferred style of learning. From all my experiences, secondary learning has been my favoured learning. I was well supported in my learning, it was structured so that I was able to make my own decisions and come up with my own ideas and explanations, while being given the support and encouragement needed to achieve the highest grades I could. I would hope in my time as teaching I would be able to offer this same support and structure to my pupils, although to all, not just the few higher achievers. Word Count = 1338 Bruner, J. (1977). The Process of Education. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Mortimer, E,F. and Scott, P,H. (2003) Meaning Making in Secondary Science Classrooms. Maidenhead: Open University Press Ogborn, J., Kress, G., Martins, I. and McGillicuddy, K. (1996) Explaining Science in the Classroom. Buckingham: Open University Press Vygotsky, L,S. (1978). Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press ?? ?? ?? ?? Science Learning Autobiography Page | 1 ...read more.

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