Seven tips for better science teaching

Recommendations to improve science teaching in secondary have been issued by the Education Endowment Foundation
21st September 2018, 12:03am

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Seven tips for better science teaching

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/seven-tips-better-science-teaching
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The government-backed Education Endowment Foundation has today issued seven recommendations for improving science in secondary schools.

They are:

1. Preconceptions: build on the ideas that pupils bring to lessons

  • Understand the preconceptions that pupils bring to science lessons. 
  • Develop pupils' thinking through cognitive conflict and discussion.
     

2. Self-regulation: help pupils direct their own learning

  • Explicitly teach pupils how to plan, monitor and evaluate their learning.
  • Model your own thinking to help pupils develop their metacognitive and cognitive knowledge.
  • Promote metacognitive talk and dialogue in the classroom.
     

3. Modelling: use models to support understanding

  • Use models to help pupils develop a deeper understanding of scientic concepts.
  • Select the models you use with care.
  • Explicitly teach pupils about models and encourage pupils to critique them.
     

4. Memory: support pupils to retain and retrieve knowledge

  • Pay attention to cognitive load - structure your tasks to limit the amount of new information pupils need to process. 
  • Revisit knowledge after a gap to help pupils retain it in their long-term memory.
  • Provide opportunities for pupils to retrieve the knowledge that they have previously learned. 
  • Encourage pupils to elaborate on what they have learned.
     

5. Practical work: use practical work purposefully and as part of a learning sequence

  • Know the purpose of each practical activity.
  • Sequence practical activities with other learning.
  • Use practical work to develop scientific reasoning.
  • Use a variety of approaches to practical science.
     

6. The language of science: develop scientific vocabulary and support pupils to read and write about science

  • Carefully select the vocabulary to teach, and focus on the most tricky words.
  • Show the links between words and their composite parts.
  • Use activities to engage pupils with reading scientific text and help them to comprehend it.
  • Support pupils to develop their scientific writing skills.
     

7. Feedback: use structured feedback to move on pupils' thinking

  • Find out what your pupils understand.
  • Think about what you're providing feedback on.
  • Provide feedback as comments rather than marks.
  • Make sure pupils can respond to your feedback.
     

For more information, see the full report here.

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