Dr. Mark Hardman is a lecturer in science education at the University College London (UCL) Institute of Education (IoE), who was recently in Armenia within the framework of the Araratian Baccalaureate Teacher Professional Development Program.
We spoke to Dr. Hardman on how to foster students’ interest to sciences, and below you can see three ideas that we have singled out from the talk.
1. Show students that science is happening in the world around them
Science is a very broad topic and there’s an awful lot to learn about it and that can be really exciting.
I think a lot of young people are genuinely interested in what’s going on in the world, but if schools and teachers aren’t careful, they can lose that spark and lose that interest. So, I think one of the best ways to really engage students is to get them interested again. So, show them that science is happening in the world around them, show them that science is kind of out there in their own lives as well.
2. Focus on students’ needs
I have worked with specialists and teachers that are presently involved in the Araratian Baccalaureate Teacher Professional Development Program and from what I have seen I can say that Armenian teachers are incredibly thoughtful, and they always ask questions. Interestingly, all those questions are always about how best they can get their students learning. And that’s really-really important. It showed me that all their ideas are really focused on their students, and that’s really impressive.
3. Employ the strategy of small moves
I would suggest thinking as in chess. We all agree that chess is quite good for children to think strategically, and think about what’s happening next. But actually, chess is really interesting when we think about what teachers do. They make small moves all the time, and they should always have a bigger strategy, which is where they’re looking to take pieces. And along with that they should always have their eye on the overall goal, which is winning the match. And by winning the match, I mean, kind of, educating the children. It is quite interesting to use chess to think about what teachers do actually.
We concluded our talk with Mr. Hardman with the idea that it is important to combine sciences with other ways of understanding, thinking about values and about society. This approach is really powerful and this is what the Araratian Baccalaureate does.
Communications Specialist, Araratian Baccalaureate