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The role of early career scientists working in the classroom

Keys, P (2008). The role of early career scientists working in the classroom. Teaching Science,54(3):49-53.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title The role of early career scientists working in the classroom
Author Keys, P
Journal Name Teaching Science
Publication Date 2008
Volume Number 54
Issue Number 3
ISSN 1449-6313   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page 49
End Page 53
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication Canberra, ACT
Publisher The Australian Science Teachers' Association
Field of Research 1302 - Curriculum and Pedagogy
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract The Scientists in Schools program was introduced to improve students’ interest in science and their understanding of scientific careers. The program introduced Early Career Scientists (ECS) into classrooms at various levels. Research undertaken in the northern region of the Northern Territory has clarified the role of the ECS and outlined several strategies for maximising their effectiveness in the classroom. Four schools in the northern region of the Northern Territory (three non-government and one government) recruited a number of tertiary science and applied science students to participate. Selection was based partially on a demonstrated passion for sharing a love of science. The 25 selected ECS attended Year 7-10 science classes two hours a week for ten weeks, often volunteering to continue throughout the school year. Teachers were given one day of release time per semester for relevant professional development. Data from discussions, observations and focus groups revealed that, in the early stages of the program, teachers tended to use the ECS as a standard teacher aide, asking them to spend more time with struggling students on worksheets and look after behaviour management issues. As the program continued, it became evident that ECS could offer significantly more and could collaborate with the teacher in a number of ways. Five roles for the ECS emerged: to motivate and inspire students to learn about science; to provide expert content knowledge and resources; to assist with delivery of the lesson; to extend gifted students and support struggling students; and to engage the majority of the class while the teacher dealt with behaviour management. Four strategies were suggested for making the best possible use of the ECS. First, building a professional relationship was essential, perhaps by visiting the ECS in their workplace or university. Second, becoming familiar with the ECS’s individual area expertise was helpful in designing activities and projects. Third, the ECS should be given an outline of the curriculum ahead of time and be included at all stages of the teaching process. Finally, the ECS should be informed ahead of time about classroom rules, safety issues and any expectations for their behaviour with the students.
 
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Created: Mon, 11 May 2009, 12:12:23 CST by Sarena Wegener