On 13th October 2017, I attended a conference entitled ‘Happier teachers and more engaged students: Introducing the Science Capital Teaching Approach’, organised by the UCL Institute of Education and the National STEM Learning Centre, who hosted the event at their premises in York.
The reason I attended this event was primarily due to my Head of Department wanting me to represent the school and bring back some new and exciting ideas to help develop teaching in science.
I turned up to the event not knowing much about Science Capital. I was pleased to learn some easy techniques over the course of the day, which are not taxing on precious time and could be used to improve pupils’ engagement, enjoyment and understanding of science. Perhaps the piece of information that I will look to incorporate most is making science more relatable to my students.
This might appear obvious, but on reflection, it is an aspect of teaching that can often be overlooked. Knowing about the pupils’ interest and finding real life examples (from their lives!) enables them to engage better with the content and helps them to see science as more meaningful and relevant to them.
I was very impressed with the organisation, friendliness and the key information conveyed to attendees throughout the day. It was great to meet the researchers and teachers who have been involved in the project. Many teachers spoke about their first hand experiences of implementing the Science Capital Teaching Approach in their classrooms, and the benefits they have noticed.
I left from the event with a bank of new ideas, which I took back to my school. It was only when I was feeding the information back to my department that I learnt that my school was actually approached to take part in the piloting of the Science Capital Teaching Approach. However, the offer was turned down at the time, which I feel was perhaps the wrong decision.
As a result of what I learnt at the conference, myself and a few other members of staff within STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects at my school are in the process of planning a piece of action research to explore how including the Science Capital Teaching Approach effects students’ academic achievement. I hope that, in the future, the Science Capital Teaching Approach can be implemented as a part of teacher training programmes, enabling teachers to be introduced to it from an early stage.
At the conference, each attendee was given a hard copy of the Science Capital Teaching Approach handbook, which is available to download from the University College London’s website. Hard copies can be requested by contacting the ‘Science Capital Research’ team at firstname.lastname@example.org.