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17 June, 2009 at 11:09 am
Spotted this *during a coffee break* (honestly Jonathan) and I couldn’t resist replying.
Book flogging aside, I thought this was quite a good article in the way that it pointed up relevance and emotional engagement as the two key ways to hook pupils. And did so in way that didn’t just bash all science teachers!
According to the media and public discussion, the apparent panaceas for all of science education’s ills are – “make it fun”, “make it relevant”, “make it hands-on”. Sadly, experience would suggest it’s not as simple as that. For example, what does “fun” mean exactly?
The research that Jonathan alluded to is exploring how science teachers can find or create emotional engagement “hooks” that attract the involuntary attention of all pupils (eg curiosity, uncertainty, anticipation, surprise, amusement, amazement, joy of understanding, imagination, wonder, etc).
Speaking of which, I’d better get back to it, before I get shouted at 🙂
17 June, 2009 at 11:18 am
You’re always welcome here, Paul. Just as long as you write more words in your thesis than you do in the comments.
I think what riled me was the paragraph, quoted about, that appears to be beating the ‘make it relevant and useful’ drum. There are times when this is an appropriate tool, but it’s clearly not a complete solution to inspiring children with science. We seem to have been hearing that mantra since the introduction of GCSEs, and I guess I’m frustrated that the conversation sometimes doesn’t seem to have moved on.
You’re quite right about the article treading a delicate line in advocating changes in approach without criticising teachers, thanks for pointing that out. I rather missed it, and you’re absolutely correct that the audience for much of this sort of discussion is the teaching profession itself, not children at all.
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