WHAT ARE WE DOING?
Where do we go wrong with science?
When I visited the Science section of the Assessment of Performance Unit in England some years ago, I was able to share the difficulties that the testors had. They knew that one could not test science by recording answers on paper. Science is a doing subject. They were trying to construct a number of diaramas to forward to schools, but the effort seemed to be too cumbersome and expensive. It just didn’t work. Within the classroom, large scale blanket testing had to be dropped and replaced by hands-on learning. Science was the first subject to drop blanket programmed testing.in England. It was replaced by some really creative and captivating teaching and learning. Things went well for many years until managerialism hit the fan. With present day blanket testing-type projects now, the spirit of teaching and learning science has been blown away in England and Australia by the overuse of preparation for NAPLAN and TIMSS and the like.
If you watched the Charlie Pickering’s Show, ‘The Weekly’ on the ABC on Wednesday night, 22 March 2017, you would have listened to the opinions of Rock Star Physicist Brian Green. If you missed it, click here…
He suggests that pupils are turning away from accumulating ‘Knowledge’ because they don’t think they need it. They don’t want it as it is. He says that ‘it is an outrage that children are being denied the pleasure of learning about the world. They keep being tested and tested and tested in the name of Science. Facts. Facts. Facts. Science is vital to our life and should be valued in the same way that we value great music or great theatre.
Australian children are taught, he says, that Physics is just a collection of facts. “We need a big cultural shift from learning facts back to learning the value of subjects and of learning about the subject itself. It is vital. Learners must engage with their subjects. “Grades [aka scores] are garbage.”
“I can’t stand the way they assess everything a kid does.”
“Schools are not dedicated to educating. They just do credentialing.”
Now, there’s a point.