This week was my first week in school for the first component of the Woof Fisher Trust Postgraduate Honours Programme. I am glad to say that despite feeling really anxious initially, after having spent two days teaching in the classroom, I am really excited to be working alongside the teachers and the students. Everyone at the school want to see the partnership between the university to be a positive one.
After a brief introduction and discussion with the deputy principal, I was introduced to my whanau group and soon began introducing science to a mixed group of students. Over the course of the first day, I taught three groups of up to 15 students and the same again the following day.
I initially hadn’t really anticipated teaching, however, I was given a wonderful space to work in and the students were extremely keen to learn about science.
I began by getting to know the students and eliciting their ideas about, “What is science?” As they brainstormed, I recorded their ideas onto large sheets of paper. I also got them to draw me a picture of ‘what scientists look like?’ – Mainly to unpack any preconceived ideas about science and stereotypes. When students had finished their drawings, they brainstormed ideas about what scientists look like and held onto their views while we looked at images of scientists… The “A-Ha!” moment for me came after the students discovered that the images of people were all scientists. They very quickly picked up that anyone can be a scientist and that they didn’t have to wear goggles or a lab coat. Girls just as much as boys could be a scientist too. The students’ drawings have been bound together and presented in a folder. Their brainstorming and ideas about science have been displayed on the walls – this aligns with my teaching philosophy which is to give students ownership of their learning. One thing that I will need to investigate is play based activities for my play based group. On reflection, I think hands on activities would be better suited in order to engage and motivate their interests.
The main purpose of these lessons was an opportunity for the children to discuss their ideas and to reflect on their new learning about science. I am looking forward to further teaching opportunities to improve my practice to work alongside staff to further develop a science program in their school. Next week I look forward to exploring the science resources that they have in the school.