ESTABLISH (European Science and Technology in Action building Links with Industry Schools and Home)
||Ass. prof. Margareta Ekborg
||Ellish McLoughlin, Dublin City University, coordinator, Margareta Ekborg and Malmö University project leader Sweden
||Maria Sandström at Malmö university, Christina Ottander, Annika Kjellsson Lind and Mikael Winberg at Umeå University
||14 universities in Europe
||EU Fp 7
||2010-01-01 -- 2013-12-31
||School of Education
Inquiry based teaching methodologies have been suggested as a way to encourage and engage students in science and mathematics by increasing their interest in science and also by stimulating teacher motivation. However, the widespread implementation of such a methodology will only occur with inclusion and participation of all partners in education, both formal and informal. This project addresses this issue by drawing together over 60 expert partners from across 11 European countries to work together on a 48 month multidisciplinary project to encourage and promote the more widespread use of inquiry-based science teaching techniques in second level schools through appropriate teacher education and to adopt and trial actions to bridge the gap between the science education research community, science teachers, students, parents, local industry as well as policy makers in order to facilitate the uptake of inquiry-based science teaching. The outcomes of this project will be identification of suitable models of teacher education, at both pre- and in-service, for inquiry based teaching and also identification of best practice in guiding change through all the stakeholders involved in science and science education.
The rationale for this project lies in creating authentic learning environments for science by bringing together and involving all stakeholders that make change possible. Teachers themselves are active partners in this project both as developers, researchers and agents for change. In this way, real change in classroom practice can be achieved.
The role of communities
This project brings together the key communities that are stakeholders in second level science education to work together to generate and implement innovation in the classroom for the teaching and learning of science and technology. The stakeholders are:
1. Teachers and teacher educators of science including science teacher networks;
2. The scientific community, both local enterprises and multinational industry as well as the science research community;
3. The students of science in second level schooling;
4. The parents of the students mentioned in 3;
5. The policy makers in science at second level, including curriculum developers and assessment agencies;
6. National science education researchers
We recognise that these communities have a role to play in second level science but that some of these communities have a greater ‘voice’ whilst others have a more direct impact on either performance, policy or the ‘doing’ of science at second level. In fact the relationship between the stakeholders is quite complex given the unequal strength of each relationship. For example, parents have a strong influence on the students, but in a different way to that of the teachers; the business community have a say in the type of person they will employ in terms of skills attained, while policymakers attempt to find consensus between teachers, business and the historical reality of education in their respective country. Thus, there are many societal demands placed on science education which may or may not be complementary.
Maximising the potential of learners can be best achieved through restructuring teacher education (both pre-service and in-service) to support teachers to adopt an inquiry-based approach [2-4] in the classroom by collaborative intervention between the relevant stakeholders as outlined above. In the past, the stakeholders have pursued their individual goals in isolation, we aim in this project to reconnect the stakeholders to establish a new way of thinking about how science is learned and to help all stakeholders to focus on and understand the educational benefits and implementation requirements of an inquiry based methodology, hence the acronym of the project: ESTABLISH.
Many studies have already shown that the proportion of students progressing to University to study science across Europe is decreasing over the last decade, particularly so in the physical sciences. While the reasons for this decline are complex and multifaceted, there are indications that the decline in student interest in science starts in school (particularly in the early years of second level education), where there is a firm link between the student attitudes towards science and the way in which science is taught. Therefore, it is critical to change the manner in which science is taught i.e. it is necessary to give students authentic experiences of science in school, thereby, we believe, increasing their interest and motivation in science. An effective methodology for giving students authentic science experiences is an inquiry based approach.
The overall objective of this project is to facilitate and implement an inquiry-based approach to science education for second level students (age 12-18 years) on a widespread scale across Europe bringing together, within a collaborative environment, the stakeholders in science education. Such an innovative approach, through formal and informal educational actions, will result in, we believe:
• increased student’s intrinsic motivation in science and technology;
• improved scientific literacy and promotion of student involvement in experiential learning;
• greater implementation of IBSE methodologies by teachers;
• more informed science career choices by students.
Beskrivning på svenska
I detta EU-finansierade projekt deltar 11 länder. I projektet arbetar forskare, lärarutbildare, lärare tillsammans med industri, näringsliv och andra relevanta arbetsplatser för att öka intresset för naturvetenskap och teknik hos ungdomar i högstadiet och gymnasiet. Genom att arbeta med det omgivande samhället och därmed koppla undervisningen i naturvetenskap och teknik till omvärlden kan intresset öka. I detta arbete ska ungdomar också bli medvetna om vad personer som är utbildade inom dessa ämnesområden faktiskt arbetar med.
I undervisningen betonas inquiry Based Science Education som närmast motsvarar ett undersökande arbetssätt. Eleverna aska ges möjlighet och lära sig att formulera egna frågeställningar, planera och genomföra undersökningar och tolka och dra slutsatser från den data/information de samlar in. Det innebär ett kritiskt förhållningssätt. Genom att utveckla sådana förmågor förbereds eleverna för ett aktivt deltagande i samhälle och yrkesliv.