Teaching teachers how to teach: implementing research in the science classroom

Hayes, Sarah and Childs, Peter E. (2011) Teaching teachers how to teach: implementing research in the science classroom. [Conference Proceedings]


Teachers are the gatekeepers for the future generations of scientists and engineers, two key areas that have been heralded as the loadstone of our economy. (Flynn 2010; Childs 2009) On the basis of this it is hugely important that we equip our teachers with the appropriate tools to keep up to date with recent cutting edge science and to transform research into effective practice.Chemistry Pedagogics is a module that pre-service science teachers take in their third year of study at the University of Limerick. The objectives of this module are to link the students’ subject knowledge with their pedagogical content knowledge. Unlike most traditional third level modules Chemistry Pedagogics does not have a strict curriculum that must be adhered to; rather, it is flexible in order to meet the student teachers’ needs and to address areas which they find difficult. There is no terminal exam associated with this module; students are assessed on four assignments that they must complete during the course of the module. These four assignments are specifically chosen to encourage students’ scientific literacy, confidence in turning research into effective practice in the classroom and to provide future sharable resources. The assignments allow the student teachers to become involved in an ongoing community of shared practice and to apply research to their own teaching methodologies.Science is a subject that is constantly changing and evolving, if educators are unable to appreciate and adapt to this students may be left with an unreal view and understanding of the real value and use of science in our everyday lives. This paper aims to show how a flexible curriculum and assessment technique can be used to connect students’ skills and knowledge from many areas, using both past and current research and integrating it into their own teaching and learning.ReferencesFlynn, S. (2010) ‘Schools drop science over cuts – study’, The Irish Times, 2 April, available: http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2010/0402/1224267553065.html, [accessed on 1 June 2010]Childs, P. E., (2009) ‘Improving chemical education: turning research into effective practice’, Chemistry Education Research and Practice, 10, 189 – 203.

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