Raising Achievement in Science (Physics, Chemistry or Biology)

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Assignment 1:
Raising Achievement in Science (Physics, Chemistry or Biology) (PGCE programme)
This assignment is set at ‘H’‐level. (3000 words +/- 10%)

Assignment Task
With reference to your reading in the relevant research, write about how you have raised or could have raised the achievement of a pupil or small group of pupils whom you have taught this year. There must be a clear link between the discussion of the teaching and learning that took place in your class and the relevant research on achievement; you must provide a sound rationale for your teaching methods and strategies. The school, teachers and students must be anonymous.

Introduction
It should constantly be our aim as teachers to raise the achievement of the pupils in our care so that they are attaining at their full potential. It will also be useful for you to discuss these issues with those you work with at school (mentor, PCM, SENCO, etc.) and to observe closely how these are addressed in classroom practice. However, in this assignment, it would be especially appropriate for you to select a particular pupilor group of pupils who you work with in the classroom and who have specific challenges in attaining theirfull potential in science (see below for suggestions), and for you to focus on strategies and techniques for supporting their particular needs.

The generic assignment briefing at the top of this page asks you to discuss a particular pupil or group of pupils and how you might have raised, or did raise, their achievement in science (and particularly in your own specialist discipline of Biology, Chemistry or Physics), linking aspects of the teaching and learning with the relevant research carried out in your literature review. In identifying the pupil or group you intend to refer to, consider the range of children who might under‐achieve: •Gender: boys/girls

those with special educational needs
the gifted and talented
literacy in Science
children in care
minority ethnic children
travellers
young carers
those from families under stress
pregnant school girls and teenage mothers (http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/pupilsupport)

…and the reasons and issues surrounding underachievement:
inequalities in class (social background), ethnicity, and/or gender •lack of motivation
lack of suitable challenge
the appropriateness of activities and tasks
a mis‐match of expectations
a perceived irrelevance of the activities and tasks

Some further thoughts
The following is based on the report: “Improving Secondary Schools”, the Hargreaves Report on secondary schools in the Inner London Education Authority (1984). This was summarised in West, A & Dickey, A (1990) “The Redbridge High School English Handbook”; L.B. Redbridge Advisory Service.

The report defined four aspects of pupil achievement (think carefully about how these apply to science and your chosen discipline): 1. This aspect involves most of all, the capacity to express oneself in a written form. It requires the capacity to retain propositional knowledge, to select from such knowledge appropriately in response to a specified request and to do so quickly without reference to possible sources of information. The capacity to memorise and organize material is particularly important. 2. This aspect is concerned with the capacity to apply knowledge rather the knowledge itself; with the practical rather than the theoretical; with the oral rather than the written. Problem solving and investigational skills are more important than the retention of knowledge. 3. This aspect is concerned with personal and social skills: the capacity to communicate with others in face to face relationships; the ability to co‐operate with others in the interests of the group as well as the individual; initiative, self‐reliance and the ability to work alone without close supervision; and the skills of leadership. 4. This aspect involves motivation and commitment; the...
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