UNESCO SOURCEBOOK FOR SCIENCE IN THE PRIMARY SCHOOL A workshop approach to teacher education WYNNE HARLEN JOS ELSTGEEST In many parts of the world, science education occupies a comparatively insignificant place in primary-school education and unfortunately what actually happens in the classroom under the label of science is often totally inadequate. Teacher training both pre-service and in-service, is one of the keys to this problem. Starting from the premise that this training should be carried out in ways more closely related to the active methods which teachers are expected to use in their schools, this sourcebook provides a variety of materials for use in training workshops for primary-school teachers which can be used both in group-work and by individual teachers for independent study. Dr. Wynne Harlen, OBE, is Director of the Scottish Council for Research in Education. She has broad experience of science teaching in schools and colleges of education. Formerly Professor of Education at the University of Liverpool, she has also held academic appointments at the Universities of Bristol, Reading and London. Dr Harlen is well-known in the United Kingdom and internationally for her work in primary-school science education, a field in which she has directed a number of important projects, particularly in relation to assessment of pupil achievement and teacher education. This has included close co-operation with UNESCO in the development of its programme in the field of primary-school science education. Jos Elstgeest is Science Education Co-ordinator of the Regional Pedagogic Centre, Zeeland, in the Netherlands. Before this he worked at the Morogoro Teacher-Training Centre in the United Republic of Tanzania. He has been deeply involved with the African Primary Science Programme and the Science Education Programme for Africa. His work has involved close contact with UNESCO’s programme in science education and he has served as a UNESCO expert at the University of Lesotho. He is particularly known internationally for his innovative approach to primary-school learning and the training of teachers.
Introduction The origins of this book Many international organizations and individual science educators from different parts of the world have contributed in one way or another to the production of this book. It might be said to have begun in the establishment by the Committee on the Teaching of Science of the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU-CTS) of a Subcommittee on Elementary Science (SES) in the early 1980s. Jos Elstgeest and Wynne Harlen were for many years the surviving and active members of this sub-committee, whose discussions as to how to improve primary/elementary school science education led to the conclusion that our very limited efforts were best directed at teacher educators,
since primary-school teacher-training programmes were generally lacking in providing effective preparation for teaching active and relevant science. With the support of UNESCO the SES prepared The Training of Primary Science Educators - A Workshop Approach. A further activity was a brief Inter-national Workshop on Primary Science held immediately after the ICSU-sponsored Conference on Science and Technology Education held in Bangalore, India, in 1985, with support from UNESCO and the International Council of Associations for Science Education (ICASE) and the British Council. Then the Commonwealth Secretariat and UNESCO proposed to co-operate in taking the work further by launching a project whose aims were: in the short term, to bring together a small group of educators with expertise in primary-school science to plan a training workshop for teacher trainers and prepare draft materials; in the medium term, to bring together teacher trainers, mostly from Third World countries, for workshops using the approach exemplified in the materials; and in the long term, to collect together and develop further workshop materials for use in...
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