The Evolution of Practice: Is Homogenisation of Pedagogy Causing the Extinction of School Science?

By Robyn Gregson and Paul K. Rooney.

Published by The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning

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In science classrooms, we are losing the signature pedagogies, which are those routines and practices essentially found in the science discipline. The acknowledgment of the loss of these practices highlights the importance of supporting teachers to recognise their value and effect on engagement for student learning in science. This paper involves the emerging and already proficient teacher of science in understanding the central role of the development of pedagogical practices for the teaching of science. Teachers acknowledge the value of practical work, in particular experiments, in motivating students in their science classrooms. However, forces beyond their control have lead to the evolution of the term "practical work", which has been blamed in part for students' disengagement and the decrease in students' positive attitudes toward the study of science. The findings from this case study of experienced and trainee teachers highlight that the balance between content, pedagogy, and assessment is not working to promote science. As experiments disappear, pedagogy in science is starting to look like any other classroom, where the focus is on the development of skills needed for non-laboratory lessons.

Keywords: Science, Signature Pedagogies, Practical Work, Engagement

The International Journal of Science, Mathematics and Technology Learning, Volume 19, Issue 3, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 157.396KB).

Dr. Robyn Gregson

Sneior Lecturer, School of Education, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, NT, Australia

Robyn Gregson rcently moved to Charles Darwin University after 11 years at the University of Western Sydney in Australia since 2002. Prior to the completion of her doctorate, she taught science in secondary and primary schools. During her academic career, she has researched in the areas of science, literacy, and assessment. Her work on scientific literacy has led to state and national research projects at both the primary and secondary levels, including Motivation and Engagement for Boys: Evidence-based Practices. With a colleague, she has developed on-line programs that focus on improving literacy for tertiary students.

Dr Paul K. Rooney

PhD Candidate, School of Education, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Paul Rooney is a PhD candidate at the University of Western Sydney teaching pedagogies in practice for the Masters of Teaching Course Secondary program. His research interests are in international socio-cultural education, curriculum and education policy, educational leadership, professional teaching practice, developing learner potential, and faith-based education. He was formerly the headmaster of Broughton Anglican College NSW, has recently presented papers on Australia's national curriculum and Finnish education, cultural assets within Australian faith-based schooling, a number of articles on academic achievement and pedagogical practice within faith-based schooling, and a book chapter on transitioning from curriculum to pedagogy.