Improving Secondary Science Teaching

By John Parkinson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Planning for continuity and progression

Time for an HMI to move to another table

The inspector was visiting a class of infants. Spotting an empty chair at one of the tables she sat down and wrote a few words in her notebook. This was observed by the pupils sitting at the same table. The conversation was opened by one of them.

'Who are you?'

'I'm the inspector.'

'What did you do in your book?'

'I wrote some words.'

'Can you do joint-up writing?'

'Yes.'

'Do you start your sentences with a capital letter?'

'Yes.'

'Well, you're sitting at the wrong table.'

(Evans, 1998:23)

In a number of places in this book I refer to the problems that can arise when pupils are presented with mixed messages about science. Pupils can become confused when one science teacher tells them one thing and another teacher tells them something that is either slightly different or even completely contradicts the first teacher. Continuity is about consistency of pupils' experiences, and it requires teachers to have shared views on issues such as:
• the nature of science and how this is reflected in teaching
• the aims of science education
• the use of signs, symbols and the language of science
• teaching and learning styles
• expectations of pupils' work and behaviour
• methods of assessment and feedback given to pupils.

Progression is concerned with providing experiences for pupils that enable them to make progress in their learning. In most cases this will involve steadily increasing the demands of the work, presenting pupils with new challenges and more complex tasks,

-57-

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