Australia at the crossroads : a review of school science practical work

Kidman, Gillian (2012) Australia at the crossroads : a review of school science practical work. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics Science and Technology, 8(1), pp. 35-47.

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In Australia we are at a crossroad in science education. We have come from a long history of adopting international curricula, through to blending international and Australian developed materials, to the present which is a thoroughly unique Australian curriculum in science. This paper documents Australia’s journey over the past 200 years, as we prepare for the unveiling of our first truly Australian National Curriculum. One of the unique aspects of this curriculum is the emphasis on practical work and inquiry-based learning. This paper identifies seven forms of practical work currently used in Australian schools and the purposes aligned with each form by 138 pre-service and experienced in-service teachers. The paper explores the question “What does the impending national curriculum, with its emphasis on practical inquiry mean to the teachers now, are they ready?” The study suggests that practical work in Australian schools is multifaceted, and the teacher aligned purposes are dependent not only upon the age of the student, but also on the type of practical work being undertaken. It was found that most teachers are not ready to teach using inquiry-based pedagogy and cite lack of content knowledge, behaviour management, and lack of physical resources and availability of classroom space as key issues which will hinder their implementation of the inquiry component of Australia’s pending curriculum in science.

Impact and interest:

9 citations in Scopus
7 citations in Web of Science®
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ID Code: 56064
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: science inquiry, hands on science, proactical science, preservice teachers, inservice teachers
ISSN: 1305-8223
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Eurasian Society of Educational Research
Deposited On: 03 Jan 2013 04:34
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2013 22:56

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