Friday, 6 April 2012

Using journals to help improve my teaching

I am a member of the ASE, which means that I receive the journal School Science Review four times per year.

I am also a member of the IoP and have subscribed for £50 per year to get the journal Physics education that is printed 6 times per year. I was told by the nice lady on the phone that I could get access to the online version of Physics Education via the IoP website, but I knew that already and I had only once logged in to view Physics Education. A paper copy would be much more useful, and it has proven to be.

In January's edition of Physics Education I very much enjoyed the article "The electric vocabulary". In a previous school year I was told to write a research lesson where the students studied the history of electricity and magnetism. The lesson plan was that the students researched a particular person and produced a mind-map/poster about them using prompts that I had given. As a plenary to see how good the research had been I gave the whole class a quiz and they had to find the answers on the posters the others had created. (This lesson was over two hours long). The idea being that by working through the quiz they would see the progression of ideas. However, the article by James Sheilds gave a different slant to the progression of science ideas through the development of electricity. By focussing on the language I would be able to introduce other aspects of literacy to this type of lesson.

I also appreciate the article on "Teaching waves with Google Earth", which gives locations where phenomena such as diffraction has been seen. I plan to explore and see what I can find in the locality and beyond. This should help engagement with waves and allow my students to see the science in their every day lives.

I have written a blog post recently about sharing practice and I find School Science Review useful for finding out about projects that other science teachers and departments have been doing. The first article I used was one about a group of year 11 students learning about environmental science by making their own gardens. We tried to replicate this with a group of year 8s, which was fun.

The latest edition of SSR is themed on space education. I read with interest an article about a school who has based all their year 8 science on space to help improve enjoyment and engagement in science. The article was of interest to me. I have been involved in writing a home-made scheme of work and don't recognise the advantages in the way that the author of the article does, so it was interesting to read. Can I manage to get a department to write a scheme of work and take ownership of it?

I have copied articles for other members of staff, and as a result we have bought mini scale chemistry equipment, taken part in STEM activities and I have learned about implementing AfL. On top of all that that the book reviews are very useful.

The final Journal I subscribe to is Science in School. It is a pan-European journal that covers all science topics. It includes cutting edge science, teaching materials and resources that can be copied for use and interviews with real scientists. Often I find the resources are slightly on the edge of what I teach, but I also like this as I learn from what they write. The journal can be accessed by students as it is laid out more like a magazine, which makes it a potential teaching resource too.

I am not a member of RSC, so I don't get to read education in Chemistry. It is possible to subscribe, but I have decided not to spend the money. Hopefully I will get a copy at my new school, and if not then I may ask the school to pay for the subscription.

I hope that I can pay more attention to the journal articles and as a result they can impact on my teaching.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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