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Www.earthscienceeducation.com Changing Earth science teaching in UK schools through in-service teacher training Susannah Lydon Chris King Keele University,

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Presentation on theme: "Www.earthscienceeducation.com Changing Earth science teaching in UK schools through in-service teacher training Susannah Lydon Chris King Keele University,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Changing Earth science teaching in UK schools through in-service teacher training Susannah Lydon Chris King Keele University, UK

2 Background how does Earth science fit in? Earth science forms part of the Science National Curriculum in in England and Wales About 4% of the science curriculum Distributed between chemistry and physics (fossil record and evolution in biology) Taught by chemistry, physics and biology specialists Most have little or no background in Earth science, or in teaching Earth science

3 Background what is the teaching like? Teachers spend around 5% of science teaching time on Earth science ( ) Because teachers have little background, they tend to lack confidence in teaching Earth science Most UK science teaching is practical and laboratory based Levels of practical teaching, and of investigational and field-based teaching, are low for Earth science

4 What are we doing about it? Earth Science Education Unit, based at Keele University Central team including full-time administrator, and researcher Team of 49 regional facilitators across UK Facilitators from a range of Earth science backgrounds Project funding for 5 years from UK Offshore Operators Association

5 Facilitators deliver a range of centrally developed training workshops to teachers Presented within schools, at meetings and conferences, and at teacher training institutions Last up to 90 minutes, with up to 25 teachers Presented singly or several workshops together, during school day or as ‘twilight session’ School or institution requests our workshops and pays no fee Training workshops INSET – in-service training

6 (Key Stage 3) “Key Stage 3 Double Science Sc3 Materials and their properties 2. Changing materials Geological changes d)how forces generated by expansion, contraction and the freezing of water can lead to the physical weathering of rocks e)about the formation of rocks by processes that take place over different timescales, and that the mode of formation determines their texture and the minerals they contain f)how igneous rocks are formed by the cooling of magma, sedimentary rocks by processes including the deposition of rock fragments or organic material, or as a result of evaporation, and metamorphic rocks by the action of heat and pressure on existing rocks”

7 Dynamic Rock Cycle

8 Rock cycle materials back

9 Weathering back

10 Erosion/ transportation back

11 Deposition back

12 Compaction/ cementation back

13 Crystallisation back

14 Folding/faulting/uplift back

15 Dynamic Rock Cycle Introductory activity in pairs or small groups, introducing rock cycle concepts and processes Teachers (in pairs) try out activities demonstrating rock cycle processes in the school science lab Pairs demonstrate activities to the entire group Facilitator encourages group to discuss how each activity could be used in their particular teaching context

16 Does this approach work? In : –We visited 47 schools, 20 teacher meetings and 10 conferences, reaching more than 800 participants –We made 30 visits to teacher training institutions, attended by more than 900 trainee teachers –We obtained feedback through post- workshop questionnaires (n=1344)

17 “The workshop has improved my Earth science knowledge and understanding” Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

18 Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree % “The workshop has given me new ideas for ways of teaching Earth science”

19 “The workshop has improved my confidence in teaching Earth science” Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

20 “The workshop will increase the amount of Earth science practical work I teach” Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

21 “The workshop will increase the amount of Earth science investigational work I teach” Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

22 “The workshop will increase the total amount of Earth science I teach” Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

23 “The workshop will increase the amount of Earth science out of doors I teach” (n=234) Likert scale where 1 is strongly agree, 5 is strongly disagree %

24 What did they have to say about the workshop? Teachers were also asked for short written responses indicating what they had gained from attending the workshop several categories of response were recognised

25 Practicals & Demos “Seeing things I could do in my lab” “Examples of activities that I could use in the classroom to illustrate Earth Science Concepts “ “The demonstrations specifically designed for the classroom” “The practical demonstrations highlighted the variety of ways earth science may be taught in a vivid way” “The visual links, using real rocks to show the rock cycle. I loved the river system in the drain pipe” “Spotting rocks in an urban area!”

26 How it changed their outlook “Understanding that it can be practical.” “Gave me ideas for teaching what can be a 'chalk and talk' subject.” “Ideas to teach 'dry' topics.” “The "hands-on" approaches because all too often it is just taught out of books and becomes very boring both for teachers and pupils.”

27 How it changed their outlook “A good insight into appropriate practicals which are possible.” “The practicals - they were informative especially because i've been told previously that there are few earth science pracs.” “I am surprised at not knowing about new activities already.” “Many of the activities were simple enough to use in lessons without major resource implications.”

28 How it changed their outlook “I was made to feel enthusiastic about earth sciences, which I never thought would happen.” “The imaginative and creative ways to deliver the curriculum, very motivational.” “…extremely interesting (I'm giving up chemistry for earth science!!!)” “It made me interested!” “I won't think rocks are so boring in future.”

29 Improved Earth science knowledge and understanding “An introduction to something I know nothing about” “…it helped me to understand things visually” “…able to see how it all links together. Able to identify more rocks…” “having an expert to explain and clarify things “ “Talking to a geologist who helped me with my misconceptions. (I am self taught - I read geology books)” “Understanding the differences between igneous and metamorphic rock”

30 Improved knowledge of Earth science teaching “Discussing details of implementing practical demos of processes” “It enabled me to see how to demonstrate Earth Science at KS3 & KS4 & A Level” “Seeing the practical equipment set up and used. It gives me a greater understanding of what I may be asked to provide and why.” “Application of academic content to a practical presentation” “I liked the way we thought about implications / strengths / weaknesses of the activities.”

31 How it would improve their Earth science teaching “good activities will give me much more confidence in classroom ” “Some good ideas that I will feel more comfortable using in lessons” “Extra 'facts' and experiments / demo's will help delivery and confidence of delivery of subject. “The workshop will not increase the total amount of earth science I teach as this is dictated by the school but it will improve the quality of delivery - more demonstrations, more practicals including investigations ”

32 How it would improve their Earth science teaching “Simple demonstrations and class practicals to help understanding of abstract concepts” “Hands on demos useful to teach difficult concepts (e.g. folding & faulting” “Visual activities - activities that make children think for themselves and build knowledge for themselves” “earth science outdoors linked the rock cycle to processes that the students will be able to observe “

33 How it would improve their Earth science teaching “Interesting ways to teach rocks, which kids think are boring.” “Practical activities to stimulate & motivate pupils.” “The little demo's - increased my interest so will increase pupil interest hopefully!”

34 How it would improve their Earth science teaching “Very valuable - all you need is just two or three new ideas to complement prior good practice - it makes a big difference.” “Specific links to the national curriculum - best practice“ “The resources and picking out what the pupils actually need to know was useful “

35 Change in the classroom? Are good results seen on the day of the workshop translated into action in the classroom? Follow-up study, involving schools who had participated in rock cycle workshop during year from September July 2003 Uptake of specific practical activities in the Dynamic Rock Cycle workshop

36 Uptake of activities Getting feedback several months to a year later is a challenge - high teacher turnover, lack of time, lack of willingness Of the 30 schools who were contacted, 16 responded to the request (2 to decline) All 14 schools that did participate had made changes to classroom teaching in response to the ESEU workshop at their school

37 Uptake of individual activities 3 of the 14 schools said that they had used (or planned to introduce) most of the rock cycle activities in the school year The other 11 schools were using/introducing some of the activities Schools were using between 2 and 9 rock cycle activities activities that were new to at least some of the teachers (an average of 5)

38 Activities in use before and after workshop

39 Evidence for change In at least six of the schools, the workshop had prompted staff into producing a new ‘Scheme of Work’ for teaching the rock cycle Scheme of Work A official document which sets out how the school plans to teach the National Curriculum. Standard Schemes are produced but schools are encouraged to adapt them. A Scheme of Work encompasses long term planning to individual lesson plans This represents tangible long-term change in classroom teaching, in which ESEU was a factor

40 Summary UK teachers need support in their Earth science teaching ESEU provide this through training workshops Workshops are well received by participants, who recognise a range of benefits on the day Some evidence for change in the classroom Change includes new Schemes of Work More work is needed

41 supported by: For further information, please EARTH SCIENCE EDUCATION UNIT


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