The Ascendency of the Biological Sciences

27 January 2011

These are exciting times in which to be teaching biology! However, the very nature of science has undergone drastic changes in recent times, demanding a new perspective on science education in schools. There is a necessity and desire for substantial reforms of science education to reflect the changing nature of science as well as the changing notion of what is desirable science education (enter the National Curriculum).

Preparing Students

Students need to be prepared to think their way out of a brown paper bag! Merely memorizing information does not adequately prepare students to decipher, interpret or reason. ‘True learning’ is based on discovery, guided by mentoring, rather than on an oppressive model based on the transmission of knowledge. Research has shown that the use of problem-based learning focussed on scientific problems, engages students, provides them with the chance to apply their concept knowledge to a relevant issue in science, work cooperatively in teams, enhance communication skills, and think critically in analysing complex problems. In addition, students display a deeper understanding of the subject matter and increased selfdirection and motivation.

Teachers who provide real-life scenarios focusing on biological concepts afford the opportunity for greater understanding in their students. These scenarios allow students the opportunity to apply their knowledge of concepts in a practical, thoughtful manner.

Obviously, the reforms that are required to enable science teachers to mentor students on their journey of learning with contemporary contexts, cannot be accomplished without significant ongoing professional development. This requires carefully
designed, comprehensive programs  of sustained, integrated PD opportunities that actively involve teachers in the design process; give teachers an opportunity to practice what they learn, with access to follow-up support and which lead to the
development of partnerships in  professional communities of learners who communicate on a regular basis.

Professional Development

This is where I can help. In 2009 I completed my Master of Education (Research) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Kelvin Grove Campus. My supervisors were Dr Gillian Kidman and Associate Professor Jim Watters. I was fortunate enough to secure a QUT Master’s Scholarship to research the factors impacting on the design and implementation of effective biotechnology professional development for teachers and laboratory technical staff. Since then, I have been able to integrate my Master’s research with my scientific laboratory research experience, teaching experiences and previous PD development experiences to enable me to develop an evidence-based comprehensive biotechnology professional development
model that includes the content, skills, pedagogy and socio-scientific dimensions. This model will form the basis of all Professional Development programs that will be conducted by myself either as a private consultant or through Bio-Tek Services.

My role as a Biotechnology & Microbiology Education Consultant means that I can assist you to achieve your goals. In particular, with hands-on experiential learning and curriculum development. I can assist with the following: • Curriculum Development

  • Suggested Learning Experiences
  • Equipment Purchases
  • Staff Training
  • Workshops
  • Classroom Modeling
  • Technical Advice
  • Technical Support
  • Funding Applications
  • Developing Experimental Investigations

I am always available for a ‘chat’ and would encourage you to contact me at any time to discuss how I may be of assistance.

In the next issue I will outline an exciting opportunity which exists for identified schools across Australia to form partnerships with Bio-Tek Services to bring cutting edge bioscience education to their region...


Biotechnology & Microbiology Education Consultant

ABN: 13 900 571 335

Ph: 0410 576 482


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