School science fairs get a bad rap. They are often criticised for not promoting real learning, being overly-competitive, advantaging students from already privileged backgrounds, putting extra stress on children, teachers and families, not representing science as it really is, and so on. Despite this though, some people do leave school with very positive memories of science fairs.
You are here
A number of NZCER staff contribute to our blogs and we link to and draw on external expertise. We hope it is a useful source of information, ideas and support about NZCER's research, tools and wider educational and assessment issues. We welcome your questions and comments.
Please refer to the NZCER community guidelines for participation on NZCER blog posts.
In the third of her series on the place of science in a future-focused curriculum, Ally Bull explores the idea of making school science personally relevant.
In the second in her series on the place of science in a future-focused curriculum, Ally Bull explores the idea of science and certainty.
Science is science regardless of how you approach it. That’s kind of the nice thing about science – it’s true regardless of how you feel about it.
By Rachel Bolstad
In the first of our new blog, Thinking about science education, Ally Bull considers the place of science in a future-focused school curriculum. Ally is a former senior researcher at NZCER and now consultant, with deep knowledge and expertise in science education, future-focused learning and professional learning for teachers.
For this post, let’s assume that failure can have a positive, productive relationship with learning. Let’s explore what goes on when that potentially positive relationship is thwarted. If the possibility of failure is too awful to contemplate, using it strategically for learning is unthinkable. The strategy instead becomes one of avoiding failure at all costs.
Getting our heads back in the game
When people want to emphasise how important it is to succeed, or to get something right, they say “Failure is not an option”. Avoiding failure seems like a good idea because it’s so often a horrible experience - for us and sometimes also for anyone depending on our success. But in some fields of work, and in certain situations, failure actually is an option.
People in different fields of work – like GPs, carpenters, engineering technicians, and health and community support workers - have different relationships with the idea of failure and the making of mistakes. This has really struck me when doing research on learning in workplaces.
Are you a "game-curious" teacher?
In October we convened our first games for learning project meet-and-greet with around a dozen game-curious primary, intermediate, and secondary teachers in Wellington.