During the day we had numerous presentations by a range of people involved in science education. I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to ask questions after the presentations.
For me there were two powerful things about the day. Firstly there were no expectations of outcome from the day. What you take away from the event and put into practice is entirely down to you. And secondly there are some very reflective practitioners out there who are taking on board external ideas and using them to help them make an impact.
For a few the starting point of a talk was 'We are in this position, but we are doing this to turn the situation into a positive and useful experience for students and staff'. The choices and resultant practices of science teacher colleagues are deliberate and with purpose.
Alongside the ideas that can be used back at school is the opportunity to talk to people with knowledge of the current curriculum changes and development.
I don't know why this type of event needs to happen independent of the knowledge of schools and school management, but for me this is when the best sharing happens and I am at my most reflective.
I found the presentations of Austin Booth and Rebecca Walsh powerful. They have used spreadsheets that 'RAG' the confidence of students in specification areas. I am certainly considering how we might use this to help students and teachers identify strengths and weaknesses. I feel that for students who benefited from seeing the BTEC tracker to motivate them, this is a possible useful approach to GCSE, and this applies to the disappearance of modules too.
I also enjoyed Katy Bloom's presentation about her research into feedback. I was interested to see that her research backs up the finding of other studies. (Sometimes I wonder if research is transferable). It was also interesting to see that students only recognise written feedback as feedback.
Richard Needham's presentation highlighting the increased numeracy demand was also of great interest. I just feel that I am coming to terms with literacy within my teaching, but now need to properly address numeracy. 'We already do that via equations triangles and drawing graphs' isn't quite going to cut it! This is something I need to put into my plans for the coming year.
Lastly, I need to raise again the great resources on the STEM elibrary and commend them to all science teachers.
Thank you to Mary and the UYSEG team for hosting, and to all the presenters who raised my morale and inspired me to be that bit more reflective.
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