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Practical work: the essence of school science

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Practical work: the essence of school science John Holman National Science Learning Centre Sputnik 1, Launched by USSR, October 1957 Practical work survey Carried out ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Practical work: the essence of school science


1
Practical work the essence of school science
John Holman National Science Learning Centre
2
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3
Sputnik 1, Launched by USSR, October 1957
4
Practical work survey
  • Carried out by the Science Learning Centres as
    part of the Getting Practical project with the
    Association for Science Education
  • Published March 2010
  • 1339 responses from science teachers and
    technicians
  • Analysis and report by Kirstie Hampson

5
Top reasons for doing practical work
  • Helping learners to understand scientific
    concepts (88)
  • Making phenomena more real i.e. linking theory to
    practice (84)
  • Helping learners to develop skills e.g.
    observation, using equipment (82)
  • Motivating learners (81)
  • Helping learners to develop understanding of
    scientific enquiry (80)

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Percentage of teachers undertaking practical work
for more than 40 of teaching time
  • Key Stage 3 63
  • Key Stage 4 43
  • Post 16 28

8
What factors hinder you from undertaking
practical work?
  • Curriculum pressure i.e. curriculum too full
    (69)
  • Curriculum pressure i.e. assessment demands too
    frequent (41)
  • Poor learner behaviour (29)
  • Lack of funding for or availability of suitable
    equipment (25 and 20 respectively)
  • Lack of time to research suitable ideas for
    practical work (21)
  • Health and safety (lt10)

9
Pressure from timetabling and results precludes
practicals unless they are directly related to
coursework
10
Factors contributing to effective practical work
  • The availability of quality equipment and good
    laboratory layout (33)
  • Learner engagement and good behaviour (23)
  • Time to plan and prepare beforehand and time to
    carry out the work (21)
  • Support from technicians and teaching assistants
    (20)
  • Clear purpose for the practical, strong links to
    theory and relevance to the topic or curriculum
    (20)

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What additional support would make your practical
work more effective?
  • Smaller class sizes (67)
  • More time for planning (57)
  • A less content-heavy curriculum (43)
  • Easy access to new ideas (43)
  • More technicians and teaching assistants (19)

13
Can I make a plea for better pay and conditions
for technicians so we can keep them?
Teacher Respondent
14
Professional development in practical work
  • 45 of respondents wanted more CPD
  • 30 specify CPD relating to subject knowledge
  • 15 specify CPD relating to classroom management

15
For a good overview of the purposes of practical
work in school science
  • Robin Millar, for the US National Academy of
    Science Millar, R. (2004). The role of
    practical work in the teaching and learning of
    science
  • Available at http//www7.nationalacademies.org/b
    ose/Millar_draftpaper_Jun_04.pdf

16
Science without practical work is like literature
without books
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Science Learning Centres survey on dissection
  • Published Summer 2009
  • Responses from 242 institutions

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Science Learning Centres survey on dissection
  • 95 of institutions do some form of dissection
  • - KS3 79
  • - KS4 94
  • - Post 16 91
  • Only 19 of institutions do whole animal
    dissection
  • Two thirds of respondents feel they do not do
    enough dissection

22
How the worlds best-performing school systems
come out on top McKinsey, September 2007
  • Above all, the top performing systems
    demonstrate that the quality of an education
    system depends ultimately on the quality of its
    teachers

23
Future challenges
  • Trend to shorter lessons and compartmentalised
    curricula - militates against longer learning
    experiences
  • Keeping up with developments in modern biology
  • Pressures from exams and rarely cover on field
    work and CPD
  • Economic pressures, leading to reductions in
    technicians, staffing and equipment budgets and
    increase in class sizes.
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