by Andri Christodoulou & Marcus Grace (University of Southampton, UK)
On June 26th, 2015 we had the opportunity to run a workshop with a group of 10 pre-service teachers focusing on Science in and for Society. During the workshop this group of pre-service teachers, who are nearing the completion of their formal training programme at the Southampton Education School, had the opportunity to consider how science and society are interlinked and how they could portray these links in their science teaching in a way that not only promotes conceptual understanding but also citizenship education.
One of the activities our pre-service teachers engaged in focused on re-formulating typical investigation questions such as ‘Do all plants grow better in greenhouses’ into inquiry questions that are interesting, relevant and placed in authentic contexts for their pupils. We also modelled how science in and for society could be enacted in science classrooms by using the context of climate change.
Pre-service teachers first engaged in activities exploring the level of controversy that exists around global warming and climate change by trying to answer the questions (a) Is climate change really happening? and (b) if climate change is happening, then who is causing it? Then, teachers engaged in a sorting evidence activity, where they had to critically review a set of evidence statements for and against the statements ‘climate change is happening naturally’ and climate change is man-made’. Pre-service teachers reflected on these issues personally but also considered how their pupils would approach this topic and what they could anticipate in their science classrooms. They also discussed how to make such topics relevant and personal for their pupils and the importance of designing activities that allow pupils not only to consider and learn about such socio-scientific issues but also how to empower them to take action.
It was promising to see the enthusiasm and engagement that our pre-service teachers showed for teaching science using a socio-scientific inquiry based learning approach and we aim to develop these activities and resources further as we are about to begin our first round of implementation of our teacher professional development programme at Southampton in September 2015.