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Node 3 - Overview

Lighthouse Schools of Exemplary Science Programs

Focus

Working with researchers from the University of Victoria’s Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Understanding Science (CETUS) and science educators of the UVic Faculty of Education, this node of the Crystals project investigates the development of excellence in classroom science education through peer professional development. Though workshops initially led by university researchers (see the picture below), teachers develop sound pedagogical approaches to school science education and supplementary resource materials that enable a school-wide science programme where science is taught thoroughly and well. From this experience the project examines the movement of this science education pedagogy to other schools in the district both horizontally—among other elementary schools—and vertically as teachers work with their colleagues in middle years and secondary schools in the development of a system-wide series of lighthouse schools. In this way, the Lighthouse Schools Project approaches curriculum implementation as an opportunity for teachers to be the primary agents of change both in their schools and in the school district.

 

Rationale

Despite leadership in Canada in the area of science education curriculum development, elementary school teachers in our country are often reluctant to teach science in their classrooms. Part of this reluctance is due to current approaches to curriculum implementation, which typically consist of materials prepared external to school situations that assume a level of confidence teachers often do not possess. To encourage change in classroom practice, the Lighthouse Schools Project adopts a different strategy by placing the agenda and direction for implementing science education directly in the hands of practitioners. This node examines the role and activity of the teachers in the lighthouse school as they take up the challenge of implementation both in their local school and in the professional development of their colleagues in other schools in the district. Using case study methodology, this node examines science education curriculum development where curriculum refers to the materials developed, classroom approaches enacted and school attitudes realized towards science education. Beginning with a school already known for its work in environmental education, we examine how teachers in this school first take up the challenge of being a Lighthouse School and then examine the role of this school and the extent teachers are able to work with other schools in the District. In this way, the Lighthouse Schools Project is case study of an expanding examination of curriculum development and implementation in science education where the agenda and direction of the process remains in the hands of teachers.

 

Teachers at the lighthouse school engaging in a science discovery activity

Teachers at the lighthouse school engaging in a science discovery activity


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NODE 3 Lighthouse Schools of Exemplary Science Programs
 
 
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