Saturday, February 7, 2015

STLP Week One

Science Teacher Leadership Programme
Reflection on Week One

Nature Of Science Aims

  • Understanding about science
  • Investigating in science
  • Communicating in science
  • Participating and contributing

Being hosted by the School of Biological Sciences has allowed me to attend a variety of lectures and seminars.

I have been noticing links to the Nature of Science strands within our NZ Curriculum.
In a lecture by Prof Phil Lester his advice to the students was to "always question science, ask how significant an effect really is".
This links to the participating and contributing and the communicating in science NOS strands.
It was during a discussion on the effects invasive wasps are having on NZ beech forests.  The students needed a basic understanding of NZ ecology to appreciate the effects wasps are having in our forests and the natural food-webs.
How do we develop this understanding of a food-web and local ecology in our students?
Perhaps by involving them in the ecology of the school and the neighbourhood.  Developing a sense of kaitiakitanga in them and modelling this same care-taking role in our daily lives.

It is very easy to link this to Kouzes and Posners Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership (The Leadership Challenge by James Kouzes and Barry Posner).

  • Model the way
  • Inspire a shared vision
  • Challenge the process
  • Enable others to act
  • Encourage the heart

Looking at this list, I believe I do model the way and work towards inspiring a shared vision.  The area I fall down on, is teaching the children to challenge the process. We don't need to educate everyone to be a scientist but we do need people to have a questioning attitude where they will ask about how science can either bring benefits or damage to an area of research and the wider community.

At a community meeting where a scientist was presenting to an interest group about his research, I listened to the community members disengaging from the science.  They did not believe it held relevance for them and were disinclined to participate in any research.  These people held so much collective practical knowledge yet were unwilling to engage in science.  The question is, Why were they unwilling to challenge the process?  If they did challenge the process would it enable others to act?  Why did they not value their practical knowledge on equal terms with the knowledge of a scientist?

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