Pri-Sci-Net: Networking Primary Science Educators as a means to provide training and professional development in Inquiry-Based Teaching

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Pri-Sci-Net promotes inquiry-based learning in science (IBSE) at primary school level by developing classroom activities, a virtual networking platform and teacher training.

The main objectives of the project are:

1. the development of 45 IBSE activities for science teaching in primary schools in 15 European languages;

2. organisation of four teacher-training courses at national level (in each of the 13 partner countries)  and three European training courses;

3. providing professional recognition for teachers, researchers and trainers through the Recognition for Excellence in IBSE Certificate; 

4. setting up a Europe-wide network for professionals and academics in primary science education to provide training and professional support to primary teachers and support them in using IBSE in their teaching. The network also provides a venue for teachers and education researchers to share their experience and knowledge. 

The overall aim of Pri-Sci-Net is to establish a European community of primary science educators working within the inquiry-based approach. 

The activities and results of the project will be disseminated at two international conferences to be held in Portugal and Malta.

Pri-Sci-Net builds on results and experience gained in several previous projects. It uses the theoretical pedagogical model for primary science teaching developed in the Comenius 1 and 2 projects. Setting up the European network for teachers is based on experience from implementing ERASMUS courses for primary school teachers

The materials, training courses and other activities are driven by the Pri-Sci-Net vision of Inquire based science education summarising the key elements of this approach. Using ISBE:

Children:

  • engage actively in the learning process with emphasis on observations and experiences as source of evidence;
  • tackle problem based learning activities, their answers are evaluated only with respect to the available evidence. (Getting to a correct answer may not be the main priority);
  • practice and  develop the skills of systematic observation, questioning, planning and recording to gather evidence;
  • participate in collaborative group work, interact in a social context, construct a discursive argumentation and communicate with others;
  • become autonomous learners

Teachers guide their students’ learning by providing a role model of an inquiring learner. Teachers don’t represent  the sole bearer of expert knowledge; instead, their main role  is to facilitate exchange of ideas and highlight criteria for formulating classroom knowledge.

Assessment is mainly formative and provides feedback to the teaching and learning process of students.

Pri-Sci-Net intends to create and offer a number of training opportunities for primary teachers and teacher trainers across Europe. The following are a number of upcoming Pri-Sci-Net initiatives for the academic year 2012-13  for which participation grants for teachers are available:

1. International Teacher-Training Course in Czech Republic: This training course, to take place at the beginning of 2013, focuses on inquiry-based learning for older primary school children. It is targeted at teacher trainers and all education professionals involved in teacher training and teacher professional development. 

2. National Training Courses in partner countries: All partners (MT, PT, UK, FR, EL, CY, FI, TR, AT, DE, CZ, LT, and BE) will be organising training courses for teachers in their own country. These courses are free and open for those interested in improving their science teaching skills. Please contact the coordinator or the partner in your country to know more;

3. International Conference in Cyprus, 4-6 September 2013: Pri-Sci-Net will be holding its first international conference within the ESERA conference and will give space to teachers and researchers to present their experiences and activities.

4. Recognition of Excellence for IBSE Certificate: The project aims to recognise good practice by primary teachers in the classroom. Each year, a number of teachers will be awarded the Recognition of Excellence for IBSE Certificate.

 

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