Learning | 16 November 2022

Our most popular ‘issue’ so far: Wolves save rivers.

Our most popular ‘issue’ so far according to student feedback, over 1/3 of students who responded selected this as their ‘top’ issue.

Why was ‘Wolves save rivers’ your top issue?

“It is interesting and can change your look on wolves.”
“Because I found it really interesting how the wolves actually saved the river.”
“Because I found it interesting how one animal can have such a big effect on the ecosystem.” 
“This is my top issue because I liked learning how much animals keep the environment flourishing. I also like learning about conversation and I liked seeing how much the wolves impact the environment.”

issue of the week WK41 2022

Clay (2015) believes that rather than persuading young people to accept what science has had to offer in the past, we can develop classroom science to suit current and future needs.  When students are encouraged to present different ideas, to contradict and criticise each other’s methods just like professional scientists, science becomes a dynamic process of discovery.  Clay (2015) also asserts that ‘question asking’ may be more effective than just ‘question answering’. 

The learner centered paradigm has a focus on learners and learning rather than on teachers and teaching.  This results in classes that are more equitable and emphasises critical thinking, active learning and real world assignments.  As  Gilbert (2013) points out, we need more opportunities for schools, the science community and the wider community to work together to develop the kind of science education we agree is needed for New Zealand’s future.

The report by Gluckman (2011) challenges our science teachers to develop students’ thinking, questioning and actions so they can become informed citizens in a changing world.  Recognition of the changing role of science in society, led to the introduction of five science capabilities where students learn to; gather and interpret data, use evidence, critique evidence, interpret representations, and engage with science.  These capabilities enable teachers and students to develop a real understanding of the nature of science, as well as to cultivate the key competencies encouraged in NZC.  This article shares our story on how we are making this happen.

Science students yearn for active learning, fun and engaging activities that help them to make connections with the world around them.  Yes, it takes time and energy to put these ideas together each week.  No, there is no magic bullet in education.  The issue of the week will not solve all of our classroom concerns – they are still teenagers – motivated by many needs and influences.

However, we hold on to the highlights.  For me this was when one student after another spontaneously yelled out “I care miss” in response to the young lady at the start of this article who had claimed that no-one cared. This show of support was then topped off by a young man who  declared “she is trying to teach us about life!”

In an emotive, authentic and dynamic present, suddenly the light goes on. 
Young people do care!

Issue of the Week 41 / 2022

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