Monday, 14 Aug 2006

MEDIA RELEASE For immediate release Monday 14 August 2006 Science curriculum requires greater focus on community If science education is to remain useful to students outside of school the curriculum must move beyond the textbook, using community resources to explore science-related community issues according to a leading expert in science education. Professor Léonie Rennie of Curtin University of Technology will deliver a keynote address entitled The community’s contribution to science learning: Making it count in Canberra today at the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) annual conference Boosting science learning – what will it take? Research studies have shown consistently that the majority of our high school students find school science to be unimportant, unengaging and irrelevant to their life interests and priorities. For them science has little personal or cultural value. Providing several examples of successful school-community partnerships, Professor Rennie argues that community resources have a critical role to play in arresting the declining interest in school science by developing students’ desire to learn science. “Our challenge is to turn around this disinterested majority by making it worth students’ while to learn science in a meaningful way,” Professor Rennie says. This requires changing the curriculum so that it has demonstrable relevance and value to these students. A powerful avenue to achieve this involves bringing science at school and science in the community much closer together. Using community resources to complement those in school increases the variety of stimuli and sources of information available to students and promotes learning that is self motivated, voluntary and guided by learners’ needs and interests. “This is the type of learning we need to encourage at school,” Professor Rennie says. “We need to boost learning and interest in science that students perceive as relevant and worthwhile, so that learning is meaningful and lasting.” Léonie Rennie is Professor of Science and Technology Education at the Science and Mathematics Education Centre and Dean, Graduate Studies at Curtin University in Western Australia. Professor Rennie will deliver her keynote address at 3.00pm today (14 August) at the Hyatt Hotel, Canberra. ****************ENDS*************