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School Innovation in Science Formerly Science in Schools An overview of the SIS Model & supporting research. Russell Tytler Faculty of Education, Deakin University. Nature of SIS. SIS is a model by which schools work to improve their teaching and learning in Science.
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School Innovation in Science Formerly Science in SchoolsAn overview of the SIS Model & supporting research Russell Tytler Faculty of Education, Deakin University
Nature of SIS • SIS is a model by which schools work to improve their teaching and learning in Science. • The SIS model includes: • A framework of effective teaching and learning • A strategy to support teacher and school change • A range of support elements • The SIS model is operating in 400+ schools and has since been extended to major Middle Years, and P-12 Victorian projects
1. The learning environment encourages active engagement with ideas and evidence 2. Students are challenged to develop meaningful understandings 3. Science is linked with students’ lives and interests 4. Students’ individual learning needs are catered for 5. Assessment is embedded within the science learning strategy 6. The nature of science is represented in its various aspects 7. The classroom is linked with the broader community 8. Learning technologies are exploited for their learning potentialities The SIS Components
Mathematics and Science (IMYMS) 1 The learning environment promotes a culture of value and respect 2 Students are encouraged to be independent and self motivated learners 3 Students are challenged to extend their understandings 4 Students are supported to develop meaningful understandings 5 Students are encouraged to see themselves as mathematical and scientific thinkers 6 Mathematics and science content is linked with students’ lives and interests 7 Assessment is an integral part of teaching and learning 8 Learning connects strongly with communities and practice beyond the classroom 9 Learning technologies are used to enhance student learning
Auditing Practices in the School Developing an Action Plan Team practices Classroom practice — teacher interviews Student learning, perceptions Curriculum School organisation and practices Project support structures Supporting Actions in schools Reviewing audit data and developing initiatives Prioritising initiatives Developing and Writing an Action Plan
Component Map example1.3 Students are encouraged and supported to take responsibility for the design, conduct and analysis of science investigationsIn my class:
Component mapping … • The teaching and learning review exercise … identified teacher strengths and areas that they would like to improve on … allowed teachers to identify and be open about their limitations and expertise … encouraged a more thoughtful approach to teaching and learning … encouraged the development of a shared vision of science (From a review meeting of SIS Coordinators)
The focus of SIS The SIS Strategy is aimed at the interaction between the school and the teacher’s praxis School science culture Teacher knowledge and beliefs Teacher classroom praxis Curriculum materials The SIS Components are aimed at the interaction between students and the teacher’s praxis, and knowledge and beliefs Student learning
So what have schools been doing? • Teaching and learning initiatives • Curriculum initiatives • Community initiatives • ICT initiatives
Examples of teaching & learning initiatives • catering for individual learning styles by using a greater range of teaching strategies • developing more interesting and student-centred units of work and greater numbers of ‘hands-on’ activities to improve student engagement and motivation. • developing more investigative approaches to practical work and experimentation. • promoting the use of higher order thinking through open-ended and problem solving tasks • embedding activities in units and sequences that “ relate science to the real world, profile the work of scientists”, and “increasing awareness of the role of modern science in the community”.
Changes in science team culture • SIS schools generally and in particular Secondary schools have been excited by the renewed sense of teamwork.. • It seems to be the most alive faculty in the school. The Science teachers are seen to be more ‘cutting edge’, in touch with current education trends and prepared to have a go at initiatives. Science teachers seem really engaged in their teaching (Secondary teacher). • (Involving the whole school) was incredibly powerful as all the staff became involved and felt that their opinion was valued. The sense of “ownership” for all staff was critical in gaining support for the process of change that was about to take place (Primary SIS Coordinator)
Team practices: % of primary and secondary coordinators rating their pre-project and current performance at a high or very high level
Changes in school sciencePercentage of SIS Coordinators and teachers agreeing or strongly agreeing with:
Other evidence of change • Consultant judgments: 68% of schools after 2001 were substantially embedding change or moving strongly in that direction • Increased time on science • The mean reported time spent on science in primary schools doubled to 2 hours, with another 2 hours spent in literacy and other KLAs, based on science. Many schools report times well in excess of this, basing a substantial portion of the curriculum around science themes.
Leadership: Coordinator Strategic Actions • Team building— encouraging a common agenda • Supporting groups of staff working on initiatives • Supporting individual teachers • Encouraging innovation and involvement • Dealing with less-than-enthusiastic teachers
Role of the leadership team in the school • Explicit commitment to the project • Selection of SIS Coordinator • Moral support for Coordinator • Tangible support: time release, timetabling, reports to council …. • Strategic advice
Principles embodied within SIS • Challenge to teaching and learning practice • Acknowledgment of levels within schools • Local ownership and control • The importance of leadership • A layered conception of teacher learning