Learning from Lockdown: Science

Feb 22, 2021

I for one will be so pleased to see the back of lockdown learning. We can understand that! As we head back into the classroom en masse, it would be easy to dwell on the negatives of the lockdown. However, it would seem some teachers and school leaders have noticed a few silver linings that they hope to incorporate into a new forward-looking approach to teaching and learning.

Interesting – like what? Lockdown has by necessity led to rapid advances in remote learning technology, and in recent research, Ofsted found that many school leaders “expressed a desire to retain some aspects of their remote education provision when their schools return to ‘normal’ modes of teaching.” This might include, for example:

  • Using video lessons to provide teacher cover
  • Making use of remote learning to support “anxious or excluded students off site or in other on-site learning areas”
  • Using pre-recorded lessons to help pupils cover lessons missed due to illness
  • Providing remote teaching and learning provision for snow days, long periods of absence due to pupil illness, holidays, interventions for over and underachievement and even INSET days
  • Setting homework online
  • Continuing to support pupils in the development of independent learning skills
  • Supporting pupils with SEND, using different platforms to cater for different requirements
  • Continuing to improve the “digital proficiency” of staff and pupils
  • Continuing the strong communication and the resulting relationships with parents, carers and families of pupils

Wow, that’s a lot of potential silver linings! But what opportunities has remote learning presented for teaching science? A survey completed by the Royal Institute in September 2020 highlighted some positives for science teaching that came from the first lockdown. Many teachers felt they might want to implement at least some of the following going forward:

  • Using Google Classrooms to design family-friendly science projects
  • Incorporating more creativity into lessons
  • Developing online contact with pupils and families
  • Removing peer pressure and enabling quieter pupils to build confidence through digital learning
  • Using online resources to stimulate and challenge pupils
  • Encouraging pupils to embark on ‘home investigations’
  • Giving pupils the “freedom to work at their own speed”

We would additionally suggest that using video clips to offer clear instruction for children may enhance and complement your science offering. This, in addition to the now widely available online CPD offerings, may also to help address gaps in teacher subject knowledge and/or low confidence.

In a nutshell… Enjoy having more children back in school, but make sure you learn some lessons from your lockdown experiences.

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Remote learning: science

We explore possible options for remote science learning where bubbles and individuals are self-isolating.

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