Learning from Lockdown: Science
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.
ADDED APRIL 2021
We explore the world of budgets and include some useful tips and links to get your spending on track.
ADDED JAN 2021
We explore Ofsted’s subject deep dive and include sample questions for subject leaders.
ADDED DEC 2020
We enter the world of floorbooks, exploring the pros and pitfalls of using them in science.
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ADDED OCT 2020
We explore possible options for remote science learning where bubbles and individuals are self-isolating.
ADDED FEB 2021
We explore possible approaches to science week – both in school and remotely.
UPDATED OCT 2020
While calls for a more diverse curriculum are not new, events this year have brought the issue back sharply into focus. We explore ways to make a meaningful, lasting change to our science curricula, embedding diversity, and actively decolonising the curriculum.
ADDED AUG 2020
With a new academic year on the horizon, we explore ways to keep D&T firmly on the timetable, alongside the practicalities of running a full D&T curriculum in a COVID-safe fashion.
ADDED MARCH 2020
We explore the pros and pitfalls of creating progression documents for science, including examples from both organisations and schools.
ADDED JAN 2020
We explore the direct instruction vs discovery learning debate, looking to recent research on the knowledge-rich approach primary science.