Tuesday, 15 Aug 2006

MEDIA RELEASE For release Tuesday 15 August 2006 Boosting science learning through curriculum materials Effective curriculum materials are central to enhancing science teaching and learning, according to visiting expert Dr Rodger Bybee of the US Biological Sciences Curriculum Study. Dr Bybee is speaking in Canberra today at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) annual conference entitled Boosting Science Learning – What will it take? In his keynote address Dr Bybee argues that curriculum developers must: • pay close attention to the criteria for student learning and the appropriate translation of those requirements to curriculum materials; • use an instructional model that provides opportunities and time for conceptual change and development of cognitive abilities; • use ‘backward design’ for the process of designing and developing the scope and sequence of the curriculum; and • incorporate a means to enhance teachers’ knowledge base, including subject matter, pedagogical content knowledge, and teaching strategies. “In the end, we want to provide curriculum materials that enhance science teaching and student learning,” Dr Bybee says. “Science curriculum and instruction should facilitate conceptual change and instruction should be based on fundamental concepts and complementary facts and provide opportunities for students to learn and develop metagcognitive strategies.” The information conveyed to students must be made explicit and students must also be taught how to retrieve information. In addition, teachers must understand the science content of the curriculum, understand the importance of the instructional sequences, make use of different teaching strategies, as well as appreciate the subtleties of responding to students’ preconceptions in order to facilitate conceptual change. Dr Rodger W. Bybee is executive director of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS), a non-profit organisation in the United States that develops curriculum materials, provides professional development, and conducts research and evaluation for the science education community. The BSCS- inspired textbook The Web of Life will be familiar to many students who have studied Biology in Australia over the past 30 years. ****************ENDS*************