Learning | 16 November 2022

Who cares?

“Miss – no one cares!”
Not the response we hope for when beginning a lesson, however, it did get me thinking. Why should they care? How can we help young people to engage in Science issues that will affect them and their world?

As a colleague pointed out, to become engaged in socio-scientific concerns, students first need to be aware of the issues around them. Next, they require opportunity. Regular occasions to delve into the wild and messy concerns of the scientific community. Sound Science pedagogy can enable students to develop an opinion and grow the skills to back this with evidence and logical argument. There is a push from the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC) and the Ministry of Education for future-focused environments and pedagogies. Schools, communities and other stakeholders are interested in how effective this can be on science learning and student motivation.

Teachers are being challenged to nurture young people’s interest in the world around them. Often it feels like a big ask. A focus on socio-scientific issues may require the adaption of teaching and assessment practices. For example, teaching knowledge and skills needs to be balanced with providing opportunities for students to work with complex situations so that they can learn to identify what is important in a particular context (Gluckman, 2011). Engaging and enthusing students in the context of a busy secondary school involves more than just great planning by enthusiastic teachers. It requires collaboration, innovation and vision. Only in partnership between teachers, students and communities is it possible to pool resources, energy and expertise to maximise learning.

p.42 New Zealand Science Teacher Magazine 2017

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