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Challenging talented high school students: the case of Junior College Utrecht


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Invited talk by Sanne Tromp, director of the Junior College Utrecht, at the conference Talent development and creativity in Science in educations in the Nordic countries, 15 sep 2010, Soro, Denmark.

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Challenging talented high school students: the case of Junior College Utrecht

  1. 1. Challenging talented high school students: the case of Junior College Utrecht, Faculty of Science, Utrecht University 15 September 2010 Sanne Tromp, Director Junior College Utrecht
  2. 2. Mission Junior College Utrecht Educating tomorrow’s research leaders Inspiring today’s science teachers.
  3. 3. Utrecht University Founded in 1636 7500 staff members 30.000 students 45 undergraduate programmes 167 Master’s programmes 7 Faculties, including… … the Faculty of Science 2100 staff members 4700 students 8 undergraduate programmes 25 Master’s programmes 1 Pre-bachelor Institute (JCU)
  4. 4. JCU 45% 50% 55% New national policy objectives (2011-2016): • A further increase the number of SMT students in high school • A focus on excellence
  5. 5. Junior College Utrecht Joint venture of Utrecht University and 26 partner schools. Two goals: 1. To offer a challenging science & math programme for 100 talented high school students 2. To create a laboratory for teachers to innovate in science & mathematic education.
  6. 6. Institutional setting 26 partner schools Utrecht University provide provides - 100 well-motivated students - Staff - Secondary school science teachers - University teachers - Funding - Funding - Labs Junior College Science & Technology Platform/ Ministry of Education & Science provides - project funding - opportunities for sharing good practices
  7. 7. A challenging math & science programme 100 selected students, 16-18 years Programme lasts 2 years, 2 days / week Teachers from schools & Utrecht University Students at JCU at their regular follow schools lessons Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri about biology physics non-science subjects chemistry mathematics taught secondary teachers and regular teachers in by university lecturers the partner schools
  8. 8. Current research into the classroom
  9. 9. Building an academic community
  10. 10. Provide opportunities for independent research
  11. 11. JCU education programme: 6 characteristics 1. Accelerated curriculum 2. Enrichment activities 3. Independent research possibilities 4. Science oriented peer group 5. Specific pedagogy 6. Informal relationships and academic community
  12. 12. Some results JCU students • Winners in national and international science competitions (e.g. olympiads) • Average grades national exam are 1 to 1.5 points above national average grades (scale 1-10) • More than 80% opted for a science study at university
  13. 13. First year science students at Utrecht University: 920 JCU students choosing for Utrecht University: 20 So… we need more output than JCU students alone. 2nd goal of JCU: To create a laboratory for teachers to innovate in science & mathematic education.
  14. 14. Laboratory for innovation in science education Educational Research programmes JCU: frontier at in schools Closing the Gap university
  15. 15. An example of closing the gap: The moving earth, a earth science module A new subject at high schools in 2007: Advanced science, math & technology Subject consists of interdisciplinary science and math modules, thus multidisciplinary teaching teams JCU contributed with development of 12 modules.
  16. 16. Earth Science on high school? Earth Science: a bachelor’s programme at universities, but not a subject at high schools. Could we create a module about earth science that connects physics, mathematics and physical geography? Example: students learn how physics helps to understand earth quakes.
  17. 17. Dissemination of new earth science module Phase 1 Students at JCU Developing teaching materials at JCU Adjustments Phase 2 Students at Testing materials at partnerschools JCU partnerschools Certification Phase 3 Students at all Materials available to high schools all schools
  18. 18. A challenge for students and teachers? An opportunity for professional development Challenging interdisciplinary approach for students Orientation on content and level of higher education A relatively unknown field of study structurally embedded in high school curriculum
  19. 19. Working with talented students and innovating science education: some lessons learned Create a curriculum with student choice and independent research Place emphasis on academic community (science students and teachers are human, too). Focus on teachers: learning by doing creates steep learning curves for them Create a learning community that involves all stakeholders: teachers, researchers, school principals.
  20. 20. Focus on Teachers How to involve teachers? - Content - Professionalism - Early adaptors; and don’t forget the large group of followers - Concrete activities Ingredients of our teachers programme: - Development groups - Conferences - Workshops at schools - Course materials available @ Internet - Time for teachers (financial support)
  21. 21. Utrecht University JCU School School School School
  22. 22. Towards a learning community of schools and university
  23. 23. Pitfalls to avoid Researchers know much of little, teachers know little of much. Purely content driven curriculum development (again, science students and teachers are human, too!) Indulge in enrichment, think too little about national examinations
  24. 24. Wishlist Structural budget More effective dissemination and adoption of teaching materials and pedagogy More student driven curriculum, while maintaining quality
  25. 25. Faculty of Science policy towards secondary and bachelor education • Increase the quantity and quality of bachelor students • Improve the quality of bachelor education • Contribute to high quality science and mathematics education at secondary school level: – Curricula – Professional development of teachers • Increase the number of secondary teachers in science and mathematics
  26. 26. Profielen gekozen door meisjes in het vwo, leerjaar 4-6, 2003/’04-2009/’10*
  27. 27. Profielen gekozen door jongens in het vwo, leerjaar 4-6, 2003/’04-2009/’10*