The science of learning

How many of us have fond memories of Year 9 science?   I suspect most of us don’t unless we had a natural aptitude for the subject.

The reality is it probably had something to do with the way the subject was taught – a one size fits all approach to science that was far removed from our lives and yet integral to understanding  the world around us.

For John Hattie, a good teacher is able to turn on the challenge of physics, chemistry or Year 9 science for every student. 

Greg Whitby and Year 9.3 Science at Parramatta Marist

Last week, I was invited into a Year 9 science class and saw young men challenged and engaged in their learning.  Their teacher, Br Anthony is using a project-based learning (PBL). Click here to listen to Br Anthony on PBL.

I found it an engaging experience to watch two students (whom I later discovered have been struggling) stand in front of their peers and deliver a presentation on “Energy and Ecology”.

The subsequent class discussion of which I was a part, on global warming and alternate energy sources was lively and well-informed and it’s encouraging to know that these students see themselves as part of the solution!

I saw a science teacher who was passionate about his subject and committed to using PBL to engage and challenge students in a real-world context and showcasing their work.

Teaching is a science and good teaching is about the continual examination of the evidence of what you are doing and how it is impacting on learning outcomes. At its very core is a fundamental understanding of the learner. 

There are many more examples like this – we  just need to share them.


One thought on “The science of learning

  1. I had the pleasure of being on a team of Parramatta Marist and CEO staff who have just returned from a tour of duty to Singapore. Our objective was to develop our skills in the facilitation of a problem based learning pedagogy that we are now convinced will inspire deep learning in our Year 11 students next year. Please stay tuned to some further developments of inspiring our students to be real learners. Sorry duty calls.

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