Background

Understanding scientific inquiry (SI), nature of science (NOS), and the interconnection between science, technology, society and environment (STSE) have been prominent objectives of science curricula worldwide. In this project, we refer to these constructs collectively as ideas about science (IabS). Research confirms that sound knowledge of IabS will enhance students’ learning of science content, interest in science and ability to make informed decisions based on evidence. Thus we can understand why the same curricular emphases are evident not only across all the science disciplines but also in liberal studies in our New Senior Secondary curriculum.

Research conducted in different countries consistently comes to a frustrating conclusion that science teachers do not have an adequate understanding of IabS. Furthermore, various studies report that teaching of IabS is impeded by the limited availability of relevant curriculum resources, particularly those in local contexts and language. Similar limitations have also been found among Hong Kong science teachers in a recent study. The main concerns of teachers include inadequate supporting resources and lack of necessary pedagogical skills. Disappointingly, there have been far too few attempts to prepare teachers for teaching IabS in Hong Kong.


Project Aim and Objectives

This two-year project aims to prepare science (and liberal studies) teachers for the new pedagogy required of them in infusing teaching of IabS within individual science disciplines as well as across the New Senior Secondary curriculum. It has the following objectives:

  • Set up networks of enthusiastic science teachers through regular meetings of study groups on teaching ideas about science;


  • Create and sustain a community of science teachers who are interested in continual professional development concerning teaching ideas about science through analyzing and critiquing each others’ classroom practices (as recorded in the videos of their classroom teaching);


  • Enrich the pool of local curriculum resource materials for teacher education and school-based staff development for teaching ideas about science by producing 6 DVDs of “Learning to Teach Ideas about Science”.

The contents of the DVDs are based on the classroom videos and are organized around important dimensions of classroom practices for effective teaching of ideas about science. We hope that these DVDs can reach out to more teachers who want to improve their teaching in this area but were not able to join the study groups. For these teachers, the exemplars in the DVDs can serve as:

  • a source of models of practice to be applied and tested in their own classrooms;


  • examples of practice that can be compared to their own practice;


  • sets of ideas to be discussed and which may act as a springboard for reflection on their own practice.

Achieving our aim: through a dual approach

We achieved our goals through a dual approach: a subject-based and a school-based approach. The two approaches were similar in making use of classroom videos to help teachers improve their pedagogical skills of teaching IabS, but were different in the ways in which they promoted collaboration among teachers.

In the subject-based approach, more than 20 biology teachers from different schools were organized into three study groups, each of 6-8 teachers, facilitated by a university project member. Each study group organized their own meetings to review and reflect on the lesson videos of their group members. Later, the three study groups merged to share what they had learned from their study group meetings in two thematic workshops. Through these meetings, communication and collaboration among teachers who teach the same subject but in different schools were initiated and enhanced.

In the school-based approach, similar meetings were organized for science teachers and liberal studies teachers from the same school. The aim was to promote collaboration and sharing of ideas among teachers of different subject disciplines as implied by the New Senior Secondary Curriculum Guides. Through the concerted efforts of the teachers, this should result in a more coordinated curriculum for students in terms of teaching of IabS.


Team Members

This is a large scale collaborative project jointly taken part by a group of science educators and researchers from the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong.

University Project Members Dr. Benny YUNG Hin Wai, Associate Professor

• overseeing the subject-based approach
• specializing in biology and science education
Dr. Alice WONG Siu Ling, Associate Professor

• overseeing the school-based approach
• specializing in physics and science education
Mr. Maurice CHENG Man Wai, Teaching Consultant

• specializing in chemistry, science education and liberal studies
Dr. Valerie YIP Wing Yan, Postdoctoral Fellow

• specializing in biology education and liberal studies
Mr. WONG Ka Lok, Teaching Consultant

• specializing in mathematics and liberal studies
Mr. HO Kam Moon, Part-time Lecturer

• specializing in biology education
Ms. TSUI Sau Mei, Part-time Lecturer

• specializing in biology education
Dr. Jeffrey DAY, Associate Professor

• specializing in biology, health education,
   environmental education and liberal studies
Prof. Derek HODSON, Professor

• specializing in chemistry and science education
Project Staff Miss LAI Ching, Project Manager

Dr. WAN Zhihong, Project Manager

Mr. Edmond CHEUNG Chung Man, Research Assistant

Mr. Raymond NIP Tat Chi, Research Assistant
Teacher Members from Schools 28 teachers participated in the subject-based approach.

19 teachers from three different schools participated in the school-based approach.

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Acknowledgement

We wish to thank the following teachers and schools for their participation and support in this project.

Subject-based Approach
Teacher School
Ms. AU YEUNG Lai King GCC & ITKD Lau Pak Lok Secondary School
Mr. CHAN Dennis G. Man Kiu College
Mr. CHAN Pat Chun QES Old Students' Association Secondary School
Ms. CHAN Wing Man Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School
Mr. CHAU Wang Fai Yu Chun Keung Memorial College
Mr. CHEUNG Kwok On St. Margaret's Co-educational English Sec & Pri School
Ms. CHOW King Yee True Light Girls' College
Mr. CHUI Hing Wa Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Secondary school
Ms. HUI Wai Man Ling Liang Church M H Lau Secondary School
Mr. LAI Bo Tak Fanling Rhenish Church Secondary School
Ms. LAM Lai Yung St. Stephen's Girls' College
Mr. LAM Pak To Christian Alliance College
Mr. LAM Pui Chow Carmel Secondary School
Ms. LAW Ming Wai QES Old Students' Association Secondary School
Ms. LEUNG Ching Man HK & KLN Kaifong Women's Association Sun Fong Chung College
Mr. LEUNG Man Fai St. Francis Xavier's College
Mr. LI Chi Man YLPMSAA Tang Siu Tong Secondary School
Mr. LIE Ho Yin Po Kok Secondary School
Ms. SHU Ching Yee St. Stephen's College
Ms. SO Wing Man Confucius Hall Middle School
Mr. TAM Chun Kei Christian Alliance College
Mr. TONG Ling Poon Cheung Chuk Shan College
Ms. WAN Oi Man Tseung Kwan O Government Secondary School
Mr. WONG Chi Fai QES Old Students' Association Secondary School
Ms. WONG Ching Han Kau Yan College
Mr. WONG Wing KeiChina Holiness Church Living Spirit College
Ms. WONG Yee Man ECF Saint Too Canaan College
Mr. WU Yiu Hung Ju Ching Chu Secondary School (Yuen Long)

School-based Approach
Assembly of God Hebron Secondary School
Ms. CHAN Kwan Ling
Mr. CHOI Wai Ting
Ms. LAI Yuk Yan
Mr. LAU Kwok Leung
Mr. LEUNG Kai Yu
Ms. WONG Po Ling
Ho Yu College and Primary School (Sponsored by Sik Sik Yuen)
Ms. LO Yin Fong
Mr. LUI Siu Kee
Ms. NG Ching Man
Mr. SZE Ma Yan
Mr. TANG Ka Ho
Mr. TSANG Tsz Ching
Mr. WAN Siu Fung
St. Clare’s Girls’ School
Ms. CHEUNG Wing Chi
Ms. FUNG Mut Wah
Mr. FUNG Chi Kin
Mr. KWAN Wing Tak
Mr. LI Siu Tak
Ms. TAM Siu Man

We wish to thank the Education Bureau, Hong Kong for its permission to use copyright  materials in this project. Every effort has been made to trace copyright owners, but in the event of any accidental infringement, we feel obliged to come to a suitable agreement with the rightful owner if possible.