Training educators – Citizen article

Training educators could turn SA’s science teachings around

by Illa Thompson

For the first time, science teachers in under-resourced schools have the fizz, bang, and pop to demonstrate science.

Imagine studying science in school … without ever mixing chemicals to produce a tsunami of candyfloss-like foam; never having created electricity circuits using playdough; or constructing a clock out of a lemon.

Imagine trying to understand concepts such as circuits, electricity, magnetism and static, from photographs in textbooks and the descriptions from teachers who probably have also not had access to a school science lab or done experiments.

Is it any surprise then, that SA came 39th out of 39 countries in a 2016 assessment that focused on the science performance of Grade 9s?

South Africa’s ability to innovate its way out of problems and compete globally is negatively affected by its poor results in maths, science, engineering and technology.

But how can educators begin to teach these subjects using only blackboard and chalk?

Full Steam ahead

Steam Foundation NPC, a Durban-based non-profit, is addressing this: “Steam focuses on fostering 21st century skills. These include creativity, collaboration, problem-solving and the critical thinking skills needed to enable young South Africans to seize the opportunities offered by technological advances,” said CEO Kathryn Kure.

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