o The Frog Blog: Guest Post - How Teachers Influence Science Learning

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Guest Post - How Teachers Influence Science Learning

We invite anyone to submit posts for the Frog Blog and this guest post is courtesy of Beatrice Owen who, in this post, recalls her experience of science in school and offers some tips to teachers to make it more appealing to our teenage audience.


Science was never my favourite subject at school, but by the time I had reached my senior school years, I had developed a new found liking for chemistry. Thanks to the unbounded enthusiasm of a new teacher in school and his eccentric yet brilliant teaching methods, I found that I enjoyed not just chemistry, but science in general immensely. This ultimately led to me earning higher grades in science. That was when I realised that the ease of learning a subject had a lot to do with how it was taught – what you absorb in class is what impresses you the most. The rest – homework, assignments, and textbook revisions for exams – they’re all extraneous and ultimately count only towards your grades. In short, it is the teacher that makes the most significant difference to the way you understand and love a subject.

When you enjoy a subject and respect the way it is taught you don’t mind doing your homework and assignments because they’re interesting too, and you put in extra effort because you want to please your favourite teacher. If your classes are peppered with projects and experiments this makes learning more fun and interesting. I believe the best way to learn science is through a hands-on approach, by putting into practice what you’ve learned as theory. If you enjoy a subject, exam preparation isn't seen as a chore; when you love the subject, you don’t have to put in a lot of effort to study for exams and tests because you’re already familiar with most of the concepts. Science is not just a subject that you must take at school – rather, it becomes a learning experience that you treasure and retain for a lifetime.

So yes, you could say that your interest in science is kindled and stoked by those who teach it – if they are passionate about the subject and know it well, if they’re good at passing on this knowledge to keen learners with sharp minds, and if they’re capable of capturing and holding the attention of their class, then there’s no reason why science cannot be a favourite and easy-to-learn subject for most students.

1 comment:

Essi Lindstedt said...

Beatrice, you were lucky to have such an experience. When I was carrying out research into qualifications in the UK, it was very notable that young people enjoy science until the end of key stage 3, but then when they move onto GSCE level, the enjoyment level drops. Lack of inspirational teaching may be a question (although I think it's tough to ask a teacher to be inspirational ALL the time anyway) but the main problem was an over-packed syllabus that encouraged learning by rote rather than by experimentation. If teachers are not inspirational, most of the time we need to look further upstream to find out why.