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Teaching Strategies to Develop Understanding in Science

The aim of the Children’s Learning in Science Project (CLIS) was to discover how to use a constructivist approach to teach selected topics, and translate this into materials which could be used by teachers.

The approach
Key stages in the teaching approach are:
*Orientation – to focus attention
*Elicitation of ideas – students recognise pre-conceived ideas
*Restructuring of ideas – opportunities to challenge ideas and perhaps construct new models
*Application of ideas – opportunities to test new models, and consolidate
*Review change in ideas – students reflect upon how their ideas may have changed

This constructivist approach has implications when applied to the work of teachers who must change their view from one of a ‘purveyor of knowledge’ to ‘diagnostician, prescriber of appropriate learning activities and facilitator of learning’. Assessment of student understanding plays as important a role before and during learning activities as it does after teaching – making the process more dynamic, and more focused on the individual.

1 How do children learn
2 A generalised teaching scheme
3 Demands on the student
4 Demands on the teacher
5 Demands on the resources
References and further reading

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