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Sir John Holman, University of York, UK: Science Education: critical for Europe's Future …

Sir John Holman, University of York, UK: Science Education: critical for Europe's Future

Keynote speech of the Scientix European Conference, 6-8 May 2011, Brussels, Belgium

Published in Education
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  • I don’t intend to give figures – well documented in e.g. SET for Success Backed up by my own experience – every headteacher knows the foreboding as May 31 st approaches and the sinking feeling when a teacher of physics or chemistry – or worse still, maths – comes to see you near that time. And that was in a highly successful school with special strength in maths and sciences
  • Science and Maths dominate. In secondary schools, opportunities for integration are limited because of the need to have specialist teaching. But there are advantages in showing pupils the links between subjects – and for better co-ordination between teaching.
  • But look at it from outside and it’s different. T and E dominate, S, T, E and M are used in a seamless way, and integration is natural. We need to get more of this flavour into the classroom, because it shows why it’s important to study STEM and can help motivation – especially if you employ role models.
  • Almost too many supporters – there are so many things going on – often unco-ordinated
  • The reasons we need more people to understand science: Future scientists Democratic society – eg Human Fertility and Embryology Bill debated on Monday and Tuesday. Issues (a) hybrid embryos (b) ‘saviour siblings’ (c) Ending requirement to consider need for a father in adoption by gay/ lesbian

Transcript

  • 1. Science education: critical for Europe’s future
    • John Holman
    • University of York, UK
  • 2. Science and art belong to the whole world, and before them vanish the barriers of nationality. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • 3.  
  • 4. International seminar on teaching evolution, National Science Learning Centre, 2009
  • 5. The National Science Learning Centre, York
  • 6. Mission for the Science Learning Centres
        • To inspire a new generation of scientists by inspiring their teachers
        • by securing and updating subject knowledge and extending teaching skills
  • 7.  
  • 8. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 9. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 10. Ferranti Mercury computer (1960s)
  • 11. Moore’s Law
    • Computing power doubles every 18 months
  • 12. Sickle Cell Disease
    • A single error in the DNA molecule causes a single error in the haemoglobin protein chain, which results in a very serious blood disease.
  • 13. Science Technology Engineering Mathematics
  • 14. Technology Engineering Mathematics
  • 15. Engineering Mathematics
  • 16. Mathematics
  • 17. S T E M inside the classroom
  • 18. S TE M outside the classroom
  • 19. Europe needs scientists (1)
    • By 2020 there will be 20 million high-skilled and 30 million medium-skilled jobs using STEM in Europe.
    • EUN
  • 20. Europe needs scientists (2)
    • The key point is equipping every citizen with the skills needed to live and work in the knowledge society by giving the opportunity to develop critical thinking and scientific reasoning that will enable them to make informed choices.
    • Science Education Now! The Rocard report for the European Commission, 2007
  • 21. Confederation of British Industry Education and Skills Survey, 2010 Responses from 694 employers
  • 22.  
  • 23. CBI Education & Skills Survey 2010
  • 24. Gross additional lifetime earnings (wage premiums) by degree subject compared to two or more GCE A-levels
  • 25. Skills supply and demand in Europe to 2020
        • ... a considerable shift in labour demand towards skilled
        • workers, implying that future jobs will become more
        • knowledge and skills intensive .
        • Technicians and associate professionals ….. have the highest potential for job creation in the next decade (around 4.5 million)
        • European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training, 2010
  • 26. Educate to Innovate
    • That gives you a sense of what’s happening around the world. There is a hunger for knowledge, an insistence on excellence, a reverence for science and math and technology and learning. That used to be what we were about. That’s what we’re going to be about again.
    • Barack Obama 23 November 2009
  • 27. Horizontal axis: Human Development Index Vertical axis: Score on positive attitudes towards science Svein Sjoberg, University of Oslo: Project ROSE
  • 28. Science teaching has many supporters Informal sector Science teaching in schools and colleges Governments Foundations Academia Industry
  • 29. What do we agree on?
    • We need good achievement and good participation in science
    • - more young people doing well in science subjects and more wanting to continue studying them.
  • 30. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 31. Young people make early decisions about their future career
    • A survey of 1141 scientists and engineers found that
    • 63% of them first began thinking about working in STEM
    • by the age of 14.
    • Taking a Leading Role, Royal Society, 2004
  • 32. Attitudes to science are formed in primary schools
        • Children’s early experiences are critical to shaping future attitudes to science careers
  • 33. High quality careers guidance needs to
    • Start when pupils are young
    • Be based on rich data about the labour market
  • 34. The basic elements of science education curriculum assessment pedagogy
  • 35. Inquiry-based science education: what does it mean?
        • A curriculum that includes scientific processes as well as content.
        • Pedagogy that takes a practical, hands-on approach
        • Assessment that encourages 1 and 2.
  • 36. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 37. Inquiry-based science education: what does it mean?
        • A curriculum that includes scientific processes (the methods of science) as well as content.
        • Pedagogy that takes a practical, hands-on approach
        • Assessment that encourages 1 and 2.
  • 38. We are all scientists now
    • For developed countries, it is essential to have young people prepared to become the expert doctors, engineers and research scientists of the future.
    • It is essential, but not enough. Developed countries also need a population who understand science, and critically aware of its implications.
  • 39. Public confidence in science is easily shaken
    • The alleged link between the mumps-measles-rubella vaccine and autism led to
    • a drop in the vaccination rate from 91% to 80% in the UK
    • a rise in mumps cases from 119 in 1998 to 43,000 in 2005
    • Sir David King, Government Chief Scientist
  • 40. A scientifically literate person
        • … .. Understands the processes (methods) of science as well as its essential content (facts and principles)
        • … .. Examples of scientific processes: designing controlled experiments, testing hypotheses, using peer review ……
        • The challenge is to get the right balance between the two.
  • 41. The dual role of science education
    • The first stages of a
    • training in scientific expertise
    • Access to basic
    • scientific literacy
    for a minority for all The science curriculum has to provide:
  • 42. Specialists and generalists
        • Less than 10% of school pupils will go on to become professional scientists and engineers
        • Over 90% will not study specialist science
        • School curricula are usually designed to meet the needs of the future specialists, even though they are in the minority.
  • 43. Inquiry-based science education: for high-flyers too
    • Science teaching based on inquiry-based methods does not mean giving up the ambition of excellence.
    • Science Education Now! The Rocard report for the European Commission, 2007
  • 44. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 45. The basic elements of science education curriculum assessment pedagogy
  • 46. Inquiry-based science education: what does it mean?
        • A curriculum that includes scientific processes as well as content.
        • Pedagogy that takes a practical, hands-on approach, developing concepts from practical experience
        • Assessment that encourages 1 and 2.
  • 47.
        • Pedagogy that takes a practical, hands-on approach, developing concepts from practical experience
      • Especially important for younger pupils.
  • 48. Is Europe using all its talent ……?
        • In the EU 27, about 70% of graduates in science, mathematics, engineering and computing are male .
        • Eurostat
  • 49. UK students’ experiences and perceptions of Science Education (374 14-18 year olds)
        • 81% find science lessons interesting or very interesting
        • 55% find them more interesting than English
        • 51% agree science is a popular subject among young people in general
        • Young women are less positive about science than young men.
        • Wellcome Trust Monitor 2009
  • 50. UK students’ experiences and perceptions of Science Education (374 14-18 year olds)
        • 52% say having a good teacher encouraged them to study science
        • 47% said a bad teacher put them off
        • 41% were put off learning science because they found the subject too difficult; 40% because it was too boring
        • Young women were especially likely to be put off because they found the subject difficult.
        • Wellcome Trust Monitor 2009
  • 51. Inquiry-based science education: dream or reality?
    • While most of the science education community agrees on the fact that pedagogical practices based on inquiry-based methods are more effective, the reality oif classroom practice is that in most European countries, actual science teaching does not follow this approach.
    • Science Education Now! The Rocard report for the European Commission, 2007
  • 52. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 53. The basic elements of science education curriculum assessment pedagogy
  • 54. Inquiry-based science education: what does it mean?
        • A curriculum that includes scientific processes as well as content.
        • Pedagogy that takes a practical, hands-on approach
        • Assessment that encourages 1 and 2.
  • 55. The Washington Post How Shanghai topped PISA rankings -- and why it's not big news in China By Valerie Strauss Q. How did Shanghai students, participating in a high-profile international exam for the first time, land at the top of the math, reading and science rankings? A. An obsession with test-taking, to the exclusion of a lot of other things
  • 56. Outline of my talk
    • Why is science education so important?
    • The critical factors in science education
    • The right curriculum
    • The right pedagogy
    • The right assessment
    • The most important thing of all
  • 57. What made you study Chemistry?
    • Survey of 160 first year Chemistry and Biochemistry undergraduates at the University of York, UK, November 2010
  • 58. How important was each of these in influencing you? (1 = not important; 5 = very important)
    • Course and textbooks
    • Quality of school labs
    • Your chemistry teacher
    • Your parents
    • The job prospects
    • What your friends were choosing
    • Your exam grades at age 16
    • Your exam grades at age 17
    • Average, 2010
  • 59. How important was each of these in influencing you? (1 = not important; 5 = very important)
    • Course and textbooks
    • Quality of school labs
    • Your chemistry teacher
    • Your parents
    • The job prospects
    • What your friends were choosing
    • Your exam grades at age 16
    • Your exam grades at age 17
    • Average, 2010
    • 3.22
    • 2.53
    • 4.01
    • 2.46
    • 3.86
    • 1.62
    • 3.01
    • 3.64
  • 60. How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top McKinsey, September 2007
    • Three things matter most
        • Getting the right people to become teachers
        • Developing them into effective instructors
        • Ensuring the system is able to deliver the best possible instruction for every child
  • 61. Excellent teachers have
    • Excellent subject knowledge
    • Excellent pedagogical skills
    • Excellent assessment skills
  • 62. How the world’s best-performing school systems come out on top McKinsey, September 2007
    • ‘ Above all, the top performing systems demonstrate that the quality of an education system depends ultimately on the quality of its teachers’
  • 63. [email_address]