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Research School Network: Friday 5: what we can all take from the new EEF Science Guidance Report Designed to support secondary science teaching

Friday 5: what we can all take from the new EEF Science Guidance Report

Designed to support secondary science teaching

Valuable takeaways for everyone, not just secondary science teachers

Much of what we have to say – about literacy, memory and feedback, for example – is applicable to teaching in many subjects.’ Sir John Holman, University of York

Today the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has published its latest guidance report, designed to support secondary science teaching. Improving Secondary Science reviews the best available research to offer schools and teachers seven clear and actionable recommendations on how to boost their pupils’ attainment in science.

One recommendation focuses on how to harness pupils’ common misconceptions about science to move their thinking on and improve their learning. Another suggests that teachers spend time making sure pupil understand the language of science, particularly words like random’ or valid’ that have different meanings in science.

The report, which is free to download from the EEF’s website, also includes guidance on practical work, memory, and effective feedback.

However, as well as being of specific interest to science teachers it holds something for everyone .. read on for 5 takeaway suggestions, regardless of your key stage or specialism.

For the scientists

Those involved in teaching, leading and supporting learning in secondary science will find this latest addition to the Guidance Reports library invaluable. Enjoy delving in to the detail and considering how you can utilise the wealth of information within your practice.

  1. which elements resonate with your experience?
  2. which elements do you find most challenging to embed within your practice?
  3. how might you make use of the detailed guidance within the recommendations to lead your own and others’ professional development?
  4. by linking up with colleagues in English and maths teams, what stands can you all work together on?
  5. check to see which STEM-supporting organisations you could be connecting with (as on page 6)

For the less immediately scientific

This guidance report also holds significant value away from a traditionally scientific audience, for example:

– KS3 teachers, subject leaders and senior leaders – supporting effective teacher development, curriculum coherence and pupil transition

– parents of pupils in secondary school – providing reassuring context for parental support of learning in science

Additionally we can all take elements away from the report, namely:

  1. the effective way the recommendations are distilled in to the summary on pages 8/9 – a great example of how a dual coded summary can be used to support first steps to be taken in to a potentially complicated and detailed piece
  2. the importance of self-regulation (#2 Self-regulation: Help pupils direct their own learning), explored in more detail in the previous Guidance Report on Metacognition and Self-regulated learning
  3. the recommendation to use models to help pupils develop a deeper understanding (#3 Modelling: Use models to support understanding)
  4. how developing our own understanding of cognitive science is essential in our teaching (#4 Memory: Support pupils to retain and retrieve knowledge)
  5. the crucial part we play in supporting the development of literacy, in this case subject specific (#6: Language of Science: Develop scientific vocabulary and support pupils to read and write)

Next steps …

  1. share with a colleague by forwarding them the link or this blog (sub 1 minute)
  2. take a look at the summary of recommendations (5 minutes)
  3. use to initiate conversation and discussion at your next department/​key stage/​leadership team meeting (30 minutes)
  4. explore the wealth of links to evidence informed approaches to vocabulary from the EEF’s Alex Quigley such as this one on using the Freyar Model to aid vocabulary knowledge (use in your teaching next week?)
  5. make use of the recommendations in the School’s Guide to Implementation to explore, prepare for and deliver effective practice within your science teaching team (short/​medium term)

Support and further guidance

Staff within the Research Schools Network are able to support you and your colleagues in considering how yo can can get the most out of this new report.

Contact us or your nearest Research School or even reach out to the authors through social media, for example via Twitter:

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