SCIENCE TEACHERS CHANGE TOWARDS STL TEACHING
Authors: Miia Rannikmäe
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The paper describes the effectiveness of the intervention training and draws attention to the most important factors to be considered in developing service programmes for the promotion of STL teaching skills. STL is taken to mean developing the ability to creatively utilise sound science knowledge in everyday life to solve problems, make decisions and improve the quality of life. The STL study was divided into three phases: teaching based on STL materials supplied to teachers, a six month active involvement through workshops where teachers developed and tried out their own STL materials and a follow up allowing the application of the skills acquired during the intervention. STL materials were defined as materials, of social issue, based, student-centred decision-making, and/or problem-solving units, within curriculum topics (Holbrook&Rannikmäe, 1997). Altogether, 45 science teachers and 1163 students were involved in the study.
As a result of the 6 months intervention period it was found that the major factor illustrating effectiveness of a teacher developed STL materials was their ownership of STL teaching, expressed in terms of the ability to develop consequence maps. The structure of the consequence maps was used to distinguish three categories of teachers: subject learning activity based, with dominance on facts and concepts; sequenced activity based, with emphasis on process skills; social issue based, including problem-solving and decision-making strategies. Data collected 10 months after the intervention had indicated the need for re-categorisation of teachers, because the extent of the teacher change was not sustained and ownership of STL decreased. Three new categories were found based on teacher’s perception of relevance of science education: motivational relevance, skills relevance and social relevance.
The effectiveness of the intervention programme was obvious: teachers who acknowledged the need for teaching social skills in conjunction with science concepts and process skills, continued to embed these ideas into their teaching ten months after the intervention. The sustained change was illustrated by phenomenographical outcome space (Marton, 1981).