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S-TEAM: FIRING UP SCIENCE EDUCATION

s-team experiments

S-TEAM is helping to improve science teaching and learning in schools across Europe and beyond, by helping teachers and pupils to use inquiry-based methods. These methods can increase motivation, curiosity and achievement in science. In turn, this means more scientifically literate citizens, and more scientists to create innovation and sustainable futures.S-TEAM draws on a wide range of experience in science education and teacher professional development across its 26 partners.The European dimension of S-TEAM is exciting because it enables knowledge sharing across national boundaries, and between different traditions in science education. Teacher training and professional development usually take place at local, regional or national levels, but S-TEAM brings a European dimension to these activities.

S-TEAM is a Seventh Framework Programme Science-in-Society project, funded by the EU, which aims to disseminate inquiry-based science teaching methods (IBST) to the widest possible range of teachers and teacher educators across Europe and associated countries. The three main objectives of the S-TEAM Project are: To improve motivation, learning and pupil attitudes in European science education, resulting in increased scientific literacy and recruitment to science-based careers, by: Enabling large numbers of teachers to adopt inquiry-based and other proven methods for more effective science teaching by: Supporting teachers by providing training in, and access to, innovative methods and research-based knowledge. These objectives can be summarised as pupil engagement, teacher empowerment and teacher education. S-TEAM recognises that these objectives cannot be imposed on national systems, which in any case is not part of the EU role, but must be implemented through existing structures, agencies and actors. In order to achieve this, we are conducting national workshops to gather information about IBST implementation in the partner countries.

 S-TEAM addresses issues raised by teachers and teacher educators, such as:

How will inquiry-based methods improve pupil engagement with science?
How can pupils learn to think scientifically?
What counts as evidence in science?
How can I persuade my pupils to ask more questions?
How can pupils take more responsibility for their own learning?

How will S-TEAM achieve this?

S-TEAM is working in partnership with teachers and in cooperation with policymakers. It is setting up professional development programmes, including introductory courses designed to bring teachers up to speed with current practice in inquiry-based teaching. It also provides specialised programmes or resources in areas such as:

Argumentation
Collaborative working
Dialogic teaching
Drama in Science education
Inquiry for Initial Teacher Education
Nature of Science and media
Pupil Motivation
Scientific Literacy
Web resources

S-TEAM will be introducing a series of web-based learning resources, or modules, for teachers and teacher educators, using the well-known Moodle platform. These “mini-moodles” will be available from May 2011 onwards. All the S-TEAM training packages will be available as stand-alone Moodle sites, which can be used to support face-to-face courses, or used as learning resources in their own right.

 

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