Reinvigorating primary school science through school-community partnerships

Smith, Kathy and Fitzgerald, Angela and Deefholts, Suzanne and Jackson, Sue and Sadler, Nicole and Smith, Alan and Lindsay, Simon (2018) Reinvigorating primary school science through school-community partnerships. In: Navigating the changing landscape of formal and informal science learning opportunities. Springer Nature, Cham, Switzerland, pp. 87-103. ISBN 978-3-319-89760-8


Many primary school teachers, when supported by opportunities that assist them to reframe their thinking about the nature of science, appear to demonstrate a capacity to willingly use new perspectives to reconsider science learning and teaching. In particular the need for science to be explored as a human endeavour and the need to generate for students reason to seek understanding, to make sense of and communicate thinking about phenomena and experiences. To this end primary teachers value science learning situated within experiences that are personally meaningful and contextually relevant to their students, often producing opportunities to invite perspectives and achievements from sources outside the school to broaden science learning beyond the confines of the classroom. When established effectively such partnerships can potentially enable students to engage in and develop an understanding of science as a process of investigation and collaboration dependent upon the social construction of knowledge. Through an exploration of three case studies, we demonstrate situations where primary teachers and schools intentionally take steps to ensure their students have a sense of connectedness to their local community and environment by developing mutually beneficial learning relationships with both formal and informal science partners. By doing so these schools actively broaden the primary school science curriculum to include aspects of contemporary science with a particularly strong emphasis on social and emotional aspects of learning. The result is a wider range of learning outcomes than were ever intended or anticipated for students, teachers and the community in general. Finally, the chapter identifies the characteristics that make school-community partnerships educationally valuable for science learning and teaching.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published Chapter, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2018 02:15
Last Modified: 07 Feb 2019 06:05
Uncontrolled Keywords: multi-disciplinary science learning; science curriculum; socioscientific issues; science teaching; science learning; school-community partnerships
Fields of Research (2008): 13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130313 Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
13 Education > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130212 Science, Technology and Engineering Curriculum and Pedagogy
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)
Fields of Research (2020): 39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390307 Teacher education and professional development of educators
39 EDUCATION > 3901 Curriculum and pedagogy > 390113 Science, technology and engineering curriculum and pedagogy
39 EDUCATION > 3903 Education systems > 390304 Primary education
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