Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Erduran, S; Kelly, R; Guilfoyle, L; Walshe, G
7th Science and Mathematics Education Conference (SMEC)
STeP into Science Project: Engaging Students, Teachers and Parents in Debates
Optional Fields
Dublin City University 16th -17th June, Dublin
This project aims to facilitate the teaching and learning of Irish lower second-level curricular objectives on Nature of Science, through engaging teachers, students and guardians in school debate events on socio-scientific issues. The project is funded by Science Foundation Ireland, and is led by EPI-STEM, The National Centre for STEM Education at University of Limerick with the partnership of the JCT. The Junior Cycle science curriculum promotes skills such as communication and argumentation required for engaging in debates. Yet the kinds of pedagogical strategies demanded by debates are not typically part of teaching practice (Osborne et al. 2004). The first stage of this project therefore is CPD supporting science teachers to implement argumentation into their teaching of science in order to provide students with a foundation for the kinds of skills they need to draw on when debating scientific issues. Argumentation has been a significant area of research in recent years (Erduran, Ozdem & Park, 2015) and has been advocated in science teacher education (Erduran, 2006). The CPD workshops were developed in partnership with the JCT and implemented by them in May 2016. The teachers involved will subsequently implement argumentation activities into their teaching and coordinate a debate event in Autumn 2016. Involving the community in school science is a critical element of this project. Hence students will prepare for their debate event with the support and involvement of a family member in targeted homework activities, provided to teachers during the CPD workshop.
This research takes a case study approach, collecting data from multiple participants to explore the impact of the programme (Leedy and Ormrod 2001). Evaluation instruments will be used to assess (i) teachers’ perspectives on the CPD and (ii) teachers’, students’ and guardians’ perspectives on participation in debates. This paper will outline the overall design of the project, along with the detail of the design of the teacher CPD workshop. It will also report on initial findings from the teacher participants’ postworkshop evaluation of the CPD element of the programme. 
Science Foundation Ireland
Grant Details