Choice, responsibility, activity

Choice, responsibility, activity
‘Individual work’ in learning science
Lauder Javne Jewish Community School and Kindergarten National Institute for Public Education Broader context
Located in a greenbelt area in Buda, the hilly part of the Hungarian capital the school maintained by a foundation was established in the school year of 1989/90, in the period of the change of the political system in Hungary; the school building was also built at that time. The school is named after Ronald Lauder, an American businessman of Hungarian origin, who was the ambassador of the USA to Austria in the 1980s. The founder of school wanted to establish a secular school that keeps up Jewish traditions and cultural values first in Vienna; Pluralism concerning the maintainers of schools was stated only in the new Act on Public Education (1993), years after the foundation of the school. The Act on the reform of public education (1985), however, allowed of certain liberalisation. As a consequence several new programmes had been present in public education by the time of the change of the socio- political system: pilot schools with various pedagogical paradigms and/or contents differing from the national curriculum that had been in force from 1978 but was softened by the mid 80s, secondary schools with an 8-year programme, which was common between the two world wars, followed by the introduction of a new type of secondary school with a 6-year programme. The Lauder School is the first school maintained by a foundation with a board of trustees as a governing body. Maintainers’ pluralism was stated in the Act on public Education (1993); accordingly a multicolour network of schools maintained by churches, foundations and private individuals came into being in the 90s constituting about 10 percent of public education institutions. The majority of these schools fit well into the system of public education, they receive the same per pupil grant as schools maintained by municipalities, most of them entered into a cooperation agreement with the ‘main’ school maintainers, the local municipalities to provide education. The non-state schools, however, established the Association of Hungarian Foundation, Communal and Private Educational Institutions to represent their special interests. 1 The other part of the name, Javne refers to the town that became the centre of Jewish spiritual life after the Temple had been destroyed. Narrower context: school profile
In the first period of its history Lauder Javne School provided kindergarten, primary and general secondary education, which was later completed with vocational training leading to a school-leaving examination. The original 8+4-year programme was replaced by a 6+6-year programme. With time basic arts and crafts education was offered in addition to the obligatory tasks of public education. Pupils with special educational needs receive integrated education Students’ families pay a foundation contribution. Some programmes – like the ELIT (English language and Information Technology), a special academic programme in year 9 that will be presented below or English Plus are not covered by this contribution. 566 pupils attend the school in the school year of 2005/06, slightly more boys than girls. Seven pupils with special educational needs receive integrated education. There are 83 teachers, 71 percent of them are female; this proportion is slightly smaller than the national The school building is modern and especially well equipped – compared to an average school in Hungary. One third of the 156 personal computers are not even one-year old, 90 percent of PCs are younger than three years, and there are no PCs over 5 years of age. All school computers are with Internet access and are operated in a network. The proportion of male teachers is higher than the national average and several foreign teachers work at the school – teaching not only languages but also other subjects. Teachers have the required qualifications, in many cases even higher. The majority of teachers are highly committed, they spend a lot of time in the school, are involved in professional-educational developing work, apply for tenders, and participate in projects. In the school management information-communication has an outstanding role. It is not restricted to the use of ICT in teaching; it is common in more and more schools. The unique feature is that at this school not only the school administration but also learning is managed mostly electronically. “Team work is a must but constant personal connection is not a condition of it.” A system based on a software called e-college is being introduced at the school, which will support school management work as well as an interactive professional and social communication that will facilitate planning, developing, following and improving educational processes. All school documents, teaching materials, syllabi for school subjects, 2 The school offers two vocational training programmes: multimedia developer (2-year post-secondary training) and software operator (one-year vocational training) 3 Cited from the answer given to a question in GRID questionnaire QE2. learning programmes, materials developed by the teachers of the school or other recommended materials, teaching aids and the most successful works of students that can be used in teaching will be accessible on the intranet for all users – managers and teachers, students and their parents – against strict criteria of entitlement and protection. Similarly, assessment criteria and specific assessment documents (test papers, progress tests, and other works) will also be available here. All this will help the coordination of teachers’ work not only in a given subject but also among teams. The system is much more than simply creating a database and making it accessible; the advantages are in the possibilities of a multifunctional interactive use. Managing students’ tasks is an example for that. Teachers assign ‘homework’ electronically and students send their work to the teachers also in this way and naturally, assessment is also given on this surface. The tasks, the conditions of assignment and completion of the task (e.g. deadlines) can be checked; the progress of the students can be followed up in a longer period not only by the subject teacher but also by the form teachers and all the other teachers. Information related to their children is available for parents, too. The system will considerably increase the transparency of teaching and learning processes, and accountability in which students’ responsibility is also emphasised in the educational The e-college system to be introduced gradually will lay more burden on the teachers, and although the majority see its unquestionable advantages and long-term benefits, its possibilities can only be exploited more fully when the users have motivation and vested interest. Therefore the school management offers a bonus for those who use the system beyond the obligatory tasks. At present the group of science teachers exploit the possibilities Among the features of the school the innovative atmosphere is worth emphasising. According to research data 10 to 15 percent of educational institutions can be considered innovative in the sense that openness to novelties is combined with considerable initiative and producing innovative educational ‘products’. Lauder Javne school belongs to these institutions, and is a frequent actor in innovative projects initiated by state or other organisations; the school is a participant and very often a leader in pilot projects, developments, inter-institutional and international collaboration. One of the projects funded by the Ministry of Education and building strongly on school-level innovation was the one coordinated by the National Institute for Public Education aiming to contribute to the reform of science education both in its contents and methodology. In this project schools with innovative aspirations for improving science education and wishing to participate in common development work developed materials that contributed to a wider choice of science programmes – the frame-like content regulation allows that (see more details in: GRID report No.1154). Values, educational programme
In the boundaries of central regulation schools is Hungary have the opportunity to emphasise their unique features and the values they represent in their educational programme. Lauder Javne school also has its specific principles and values. What are these? The school is “open to all who – irrespective of their nationalities or denomination – wish and undertake to acquire the Hungarian, European and universal Jewish culture at the highest level”. The student- centred attitude is a pedagogical pledge stemming from seeing learning as a natural activity and a source of joy. The principle of freedom is manifest in the freedom of students to choose and take responsibility for their choices. The head teacher summarizes this in her welcoming words on their (Hungarian) website: “to teach children that all this should be important them”. In addition to taking responsibility other important values transmitted by the school are making efforts, integrity and performance. Speaking about values the word ‘community’ in the name of the Lauder Javne School is worth mentioning. On one hand it refers to the fact that the school is not a church institutions, on the other hand – as one of the science teachers put it – “it means that teachers and parents have to become partners to do things well. Parents get an insight into everything that happens here. This is so because responsibility is theirs, too.” The educational programme of the school is closely connected to the above values and principles. The competence-developing, process-centred, knowledge-based teaching programme does not focus on teaching but facilitates first of all learning; it intends to make students active participants in learning. The main ambitions of teachers are to educate for independence, develop personalities and to educate for using information in practice; to develop problem solving skills and thinking. In Hungary there is a ‘double bond’ that schools have to consider in developing the local curriculum as part of the educational programme: one is the national regulation, the other one is the values of the schools. According to legislature on public education the schools are entitled to develop their own local curricula, i.e. to arrange and organize the teaching material of subjects and cultural domains according to their aims within the boundaries of the National Core Curriculum and frame curricula (see more details in GRID Report No. 1113 (in English) and 1141 (in Hungarian) as well as the requirements set by the specifications for the school leaving examination. The schools may choose from various options when developing the local (school-level) curriculum: they may develop their own curriculum along to the given criteria, choose from the accredited curricula or use or adapt the accredited programmes of other schools. Lauder School has its own accredited curriculum partly due to special subjects and contents (Judaistics, Ludens, etc) and partly to a special arrangement of subjects, cultural domains that are present in mainstream education as well, and to the unique feature of The teaching/learning programme includes the following subjects and cultural domains: Hungarian language and literature (years 1-12), mathematics (years 1-12), history (years 5- 12), Nature (years 1-6), geography (years 7-10), biology (years 7-13), informatics (years 5-9), music (years 1-9), visual culture (years 1-6), audio-visual culture with history of arts included (years 7-12), physical education (years 1-12), foreign languages (compulsory English and Hebrew in years 4-12, optional German, Italian, French in years 10-12), Ludens logic games Besides the fact that the content, organization and methodological background differs from those of the subjects with the same names – e.g. visual culture includes audio culture as well from year 7 – there are subjects that are unique for this school. Judaistics is one of them, providing opportunities for transferring Jewish culture and traditions according to the intention of the founder of the school. Another unique programme, the logic games connect the development of thinking with games. Its elements appear partly independent of subjects, partly integrated into subjects and also in free time activities. These games include scrabble, Gém (the Hungarian word denotes a kind of a heron and is pronounced like the English word ‘game’) a game developed by the school for developing various learning skills, computer games, later strategic games, chess, bridge. The best students in chess and bridge take part in competitions and the school itself organizes national competitions. (The importance of games and community is shown by the fact that the school organizes a ‘house of games’ once a week, which is open to parents as well.) There are other specific programmes in the repertoire of the school. After year 8 parents and students may choose a year of English Language and IT (ELIT). For children whose first 4 In Hungary the educational government has supported a similar programme since 2004 in one class of the schools providing the conditions. In year 9 the language preparatory training builds on providing intensive foreign language teaching and ICT for groups of students coming from disadvantaged background, intending to continue their studies in secondary education. This kind of provision extends secondary schooling with a year for those who participate. language is English, or bilingual children with Hungarian as first language English Plus programme is offered, from kindergarten to the end of year 4, providing a whole day care and skills development where children enjoy full, active days. From year 5 to the end of year 12 particular subjects are taught in English. There are possibilities to have temporary or continuous programmes as well. As most schools in Hungary Lauder School also organizes an open air school in the forest for pupils in years 5 and 6. Extracurricular activities, free time and optional activities constitute an integral part of the educational programme connected to the activities done during subject lessons and to the basic values of the school. In organising free time activities first of all children’s choice and needs are taken into consideration. The school offers opportunities for a wide range of art activities and fulfils various – community and cultural – functions as well. Javne Theatre has been operating since the establishment of the school, Jewish plays for children, Purim plays, silhouette plays and pastoral plays are performed. Besides the Klezmer band of the school, which participates in national music events, the school has chamber orchestras and two choirs (one for adults and one for students). The Music School – open to non-Lauder pupils as well – is attended by 150 pupils and it offers courses in 12 instruments, private singing, improvisation, chorus singing, instrumental pre-school, basics of music and music theory. Science education at Lauder Javne School
Science education is guided by the same principles as any other activity of the school, nevertheless it can be stated that in this field the values declared in the mission statement and the educational programme of the school are markedly present. The director of the secondary school, who is also responsible for science education said in an interview: “science is an experimental area where we try to find ways and examples for the practical implementation of the aims of the school – of course, in accordance with these aims. What are these aims and which are the most important ones? The task of the teacher is to teach children to learn, to teach them how they can acquire particular information on the World, to teach them to be independent and at the time same time the teacher teaches a lot of specific things”. From all this it follows that the most important is not “to hand over a teaching material dictated by a external system of norms” but to develop and improve skills and competences that will facilitate students to mobilize, enrich and especially use their knowledge. All this affects the frames and contents of the teaching material as well as the role of the teachers. The principles 5 Cited from an interview with the leader of the science team. of selecting and arranging the teaching material are not those of a disciplinary approach but of the STS approach, which considers the aspects of science, technology and society holistically. In Lauder Javne School four subjects: biology, chemistry, physics and geography Science education starts in year 1 in the frame of the complex subject Nature and is characterised by various forms of activities and practice-oriented approach. The programme respects the requirements set for public education in Hungary but adapts them to the particular groups of pupils or even individual pupils. “We studied all the available teaching material in Biology and prepared our own programmes, PowerPoint presentations based on them. Anybody can get access to and use them through the driver of the school”, said a teacher with From year 7, science education is organized in subjects, also with the STS approach, building on the activities of the pupils, often in projects. In years 9-10 there are 8 contact hours for science, 4 of them are fixed and the same for all students. In each quarter of a year students learn the basics of the four subjects in 2x2 hours; it is the same and compulsory for all students. After each period there is a test and in addition students have to write an essay of a science history nature. Besides, during the 8 week of a cycle an assignment has to be handed in electronically according to a strict order. Two of the remaining 4 hours serve the support of students’ individual work in a topic chosen by them; this will be discussed in the next part and the film shows details of the report phase. Students decide themselves which subject and what topic they choose in a given period. For the remaining 2 hours students choose an optional subject (biology, chemistry, physics or geography) that they study for half a year. In order to fulfil the assessment requirements each subject has to be chosen at some point of the student’s secondary studies. The content of these subjects is set according to the basic values of the school and the aims of science education. In the school year of 2005/06 those who chose physics did experimental measurements, for which there are only a few opportunities in The system requires close coordination of the work of subject teachers. This coordination has The principles of assessment are set in advance and known for all; opinions and suggestions of the teachers, school management and students were taken into consideration in the course of development and occasional modifications. A common system with uniform requirements for acquiring science knowledge was developed to assess the various parts of the learning process guided by more than one teacher in lessons of different subjects. Adapting to the requirement of assessing students’ performances by giving a mark at the end of each half- year, all the assessment information including the forms and scales of assessment is collected in a table. In addition to the assessment of compulsory and common tasks (assignments, tests, essays) it is also determined in what percentage the students’ chosen activities will be represented in the final mark of the given subject. This means that if a student chooses to work individually in physics, it will influence his/her mark in physics, if the chosen field is biology the student’s performance will affect the biology mark. Assessment criteria were developed to assess the individual work of students, which as it is seen from the above affects the student’s mark,. These criteria are the same irrespective of the subject and the chosen topic. The criteria are the following: content, defence, form, contact that constitute 30, 40, 15, and 15 percent of the final assessment, respectively. The individual work is assessed by a committee including the teacher guiding the work and at least one more member of the team of science teachers.
The basic criterion of assessment is to ensure transparency, which shows performances in details and makes them shareable and communicable to students first of all but also to parents and other teachers, especially the form teacher. From the aspects of the students following the system is important not only for feedback but also for planning their future learning. The leader of the working group of science teachers gives an example: “It may have interesting consequences, e.g. when a student does not do very well in compulsory physics, does not prepare assignments, does not write the essay well, and therefore cannot get a pass mark, well this student will choose physics in the next period to compensate for all that. But this is the student’s decision. The system is calculable, and there is no bargaining. One of the reasons why we started moving in this direction was exactly this.” In science education of Lauder School the demand for unconventional teacher-roles is clearly seen. This is true in general as the new requirements expected from the systems of public education – first of all developing competences and supporting life-long learning – and also 7 ‘Content’ refers to the assessment the performance of the student’s individual presentation based on preparation in advance, ‘defence’ refers to the assessment of the replies given to the questions of the committee relating to the details of the work, understanding the presented part of the work and connections. ‘Form’ refers to the structure and the style of the presentation and the way of presenting (when more tan one students prepare the presentation assessment can be different for each student). ‘Contact’ refers to the assessment of personal contacts sought by the student in connection with the topic and of field work. (The assessment can also be different for each students if more than student prepares the work.) 8 The final score is the average of the scores given by each member of the committee. the difficulties in using the well-tried teaching methods with the present generation of students challenge the teaching profession all around Europe and worldwide. Besides, in Lauder School the philosophy of the school called for developing a role model for teachers where a teacher is not the traditional ‘master’ but a facilitator. If teachers cannot break with the traditional roles of being an authority and one who transfers knowledge, it will hinder students from achieving the aims. The director of the secondary school, the teacher responsible for science education says: “We try to follow a child-centred pedagogy, which is not authoritarian at all, and we believe that we have to work in a system that gives children freedom. But freedom is a category that cannot be interpreted easily in itself. Freedom and responsibility go together. Those who can live with freedom can see and understand the responsibility of freedom as well.” Organizing students’ ‘individual work’ in science education has a significant role in putting this principle into practice as it gives opportunity for students to attend classes in the period of preparation but attendance is not required. The teacher responsible for science education spoke about this dilemma in the interview conducted for this case study: “Basically we are under the spell of lessons and if students come to me for those two hours I’m an important person because they are there for two hours. But if they don’t come back they don’t regard me as someone important, they don’t regard the subject important.” In contrast, science teachers consider the role of teachers as ones who transfer knowledge, moreover the possibilities of direct knowledge transfer limited while the role of someone who wants to know their students and support them according to their needs they consider more successful. “Things do not affect people as we think they do. Our role is much more colourful, much broader and much more incomprehensible than we are willing to describe. … Hardly anything has an immediate effect, effects come at some time in the ‘Individual work’ in science education at Lauder School
Below one unit of science education in years 9 and 10, ‘individual work’ will be discussed based on the interview conducted for the case study and on observing a session, in which four students reported on the individual work they had done in the preceding 6 months. We have already discussed what the content frame of individual work is, where it has a place in the curriculum and how it is assessed. Now we would like the readers to get more insight into this element of the programme so that they can imagine how it works. It is also important 9 By ‘we’ the interviewed meant teachers in general (Éva Balázs, the interviewer) 10 Cited from the interview with the head teacher of the school. because the film could only record the last phase of individual work while it is preceded by a process lasting for a semester, whose frames are regulated but has as many threads as In a semester the first two weeks of ‘individual work’, altogether 4 lessons are spent on choosing which topic students wish to work on. As mentioned earlier the choice of totally free and there are no subject or disciplinary boundaries other than it should be connected science. “It is rather unusual and difficult for students to think over such a thing, they have to make decisions, they have to choose and choice has consequences”. (G) Tutorial work related to the chosen topic and the assessment of the work is the task of the teacher who teaches the subject that the topic fits best. We recommend some topics but this recommendation smells of school as they put it. I teach biology and I try to recommend topics that are somehow connected to the teaching material, and I do it consciously. And they get away from it, also consciously. … (During the lesson) we come together and discuss what steps they have taken, whether they have decided what to choose. And then we discuss their choices, I try to dissuade them but they usually do not give in and then it’s good.” (A) From topic choices themselves the conclusions can be drawn that the problems with science education that we face today do not come from the disinterestedness of students. What is more, the individual work proves how much secondary school students are interested in science issues. “Children in fact want to find an answer to a terribly interesting question: ‘What will become to humankind?” It is very interesting to see which parts of the problem they want to examine in detail. Some do not feel ashamed to put all their emotions into the work and this is OK. The presentations that have a little emotional touch are really very good.” (A) “It is impossible not to see how much energy is put into choosing a topic in a programme, an element of which we saw in the lesson when the children reported on what they set for themselves as an objective:” (G) In the next phase of individual work the teacher is there for consultation in the two assigned contact hours, which is optional for the students. “They have the opportunity for consultations but there are some students who do not come or come very rarely … They come and go, sometimes stay there and listen to the others as they are curious how their mates are 11 The following citations are from the interview conducted after the filmed lesson with two teachers: the director of the secondary school who is also the leader of the ‘Science’ working group and a teacher of biology. The two interviewed teachers are distinguished by the first letter of their first names. In the consultation period the nature and the methods of teachers’ supporting work are adjusted to the needs of the particular student. They are some who need only confirmation, some orientation; others need direct help or encouragement. During these consultations teachers get a view about students’ skills in processing source materials, synthetizing, and “The next step in the coming 5 to 6 weeks is that they report on what kind of material they have found. We discuss how the collection and procession of the material should follow each other. By collecting material children often mean ‘ctrl c’ and ‘ctrl v’ and lo and behold the material is getting collected, although they do not know what to do with it. The most difficult thing is to learn what to do with the collected material. Because they have a title, have a lot of material but the step between is the most difficult, this is where most children need help.” (A) Teachers generally remark that most resource materials come from the Internet. Though there is no agreement among teachers on this issue, they agree that an appropriate sense of criticism is required for analysing the resources. “Children forget that one can take a book in their hands too, that one can go to a library, they are so much used to downloading things from the Internet.” (A) “Pictures are much more common for them than it was for us, they grow up surrounded by pictures. We would find it more logical to go to a library but to tell you the truth I myself do not get tempted to buy an encyclopaedia, what should I do with it? I can find materials quicker and more efficiently on the net and I think that the repository of information An important phase of preparation is making contacts. Students are encouraged to find and make contact with someone who has the knowledge and experience in their topic, which helps the student understand their topic deeper. It is the student who has to initiate the contact and organize the meeting; the school gives them ideas and names of people who have cooperated with them before but only when the students ask for that. In seeking contact teachers have the same role of supporters as in the other phases of the individual work. They have recommendations, previous contacts, lists of reputed and available experts, they can give advice how this type of contact could be found. Making contacts is not compulsory but as we have seen before, it constitutes 15 percent of the assessment.
When the contact is motivated by the personal interestedness of the student the knowledge acquired this way becomes more inward as well. Teachers can have a significant role in that. “When teacher A directs this girl towards this contact and they start talking about the 12 In one of the reports on the film we could see that a girl discussing the topic of the functions and diseases of the brain made contacts with two experts: a doctor and a physiotherapist. rehabilitation of patients with cerebral haemorrhage I cannot know whether ten hours of the teacher that she spent with this girl or this one gesture will be worth more.” (G) Reporting on the individual work consists of 5 to 7-minute presentations of the student(s). “We can see what kind of skills the students have, how structured their thinking is. The strengths of the boy presenting genetic modification can very well be analysed and we can also see the weaknesses when he was speaking about food. (G) Presentation is followed by ‘defence’, which serves to give a picture of how much the student has understood the topic and its connections based on the replies given to the questions from the committee of teachers and preferably by the other students. The importance of defence is reflected in the percentage it constitutes in the final assessment. “40 percent for the defence shows that you have to prepare for such situations and knowledge cannot be formal. … It also shows how much this knowledge is internalized.” (G) Returns of individual work
From the above it can be concluded that the knowledge acquired and mobilized during individual work can be varied. The acquired knowledge, the amount of invested work, the ambitiousness of presentation, and the sensitivity towards science problems can all be very different. The school is conscious of that and takes responsibility for that. Basically, individual work serves the purpose to encourage students to deal with problems they are interested in, to try and understand those problems and to learn to share and discuss their The school declares that understanding, processing information is a greater value than increasing the amount of information. Teacher A asked the child a foreign word (pluripotent) to see if he understood that. This is again a basic issue that we have to agree on and we do agree on, which should have a wash-back effect on these presentations. To require less but this ‘less’ has to be understood (by the student). We have to experience to require less from the children but to require that students understand all of this ‘less’. (G) “It happens that a work is so good that we ask the student to give it to us for further use in teaching. And then the name is there who prepared that and these students are very proud. These works are incorporated into the teaching material.” (A) 13 See a short fragment of the film related to this case study. 14 See a short fragment of the film related to this case study. 15 See a short fragment of the film related to this case study. The activities carried out during this individual work may have the effect that some students choose a job, profession, or further studies under the influence of their experiences – more frequently not in the direction of science but the use of information communication tools –, these activities help them reveal their own ambitions and mobilize their motivational basis. “The school had some experience in having to choose to some extent, and in a way it is the organic continuation of the previous project system. … And a continuation of this will be – in accordance with the changes in the structure of public education – that in years 11 and 12 students will go along very individual paths as they may take school leaving exam at certain points of their secondary schooling and will more intensively focus on things they are The returns of individual works include the improvement of communication skills. “This is a communication exercise, we may call it physics, chemistry… We are convinced that good communication is fundamental to success on the one hand, while on the other hand it projects the directions for us to follow.” (G) “These kids are not frightened when they have to prepare a presentation and have to summarize and show what they have done in the preceding six months, this is really a great thing. At the age of 15 they practice this technique, to speak about a six-month-long work on their own, at least four times.” (A) The greatest return is that individual work effectively represents the values declared in the mission statement of the school. “The issues of freedom, responsibility are often only buzz words. The question is how this can be realized in our everyday life. It is the compulsion of freedom how you choose. Freedom is sometimes interpreted in this way: how good it is that everyone can choose. Our interpretation is slightly different: the only thing you cannot choose is that you do not choose. It means something different. It means that you have to choose. “We have opened up a new road that we can go along. For some it may be a dead-end street or no street at all, and the best thing was when they prepared the assignment, took the test and memorized material, but there are others for whom nothing would have happened and I would have been forgotten like all the other subjects or the school but it didn’t happen; because he met someone with my help or there was a moment …” (G) Pedagogical grid
Lauder Javne Jewish Community School and Kindergarten 15 to 17-year-old students’ presentations on the ‘individual work’ that they do in years 9 and 10. 4 students. 2 individual and one paired presentation. Also present are teachers and other students who can ask questions 3x15 to 20 minutes; altogether 45 to 60 minutes Learning/teaching objective
The subject, cultural domain is present in the programme of all students in years 9 and 10 but the topic of the individual work is chosen by the students. Aims of the subject: developing competences, strengthening motivation, and developing capacities. Methodological features of the subject/cultural domain in general: individual choice, taking responsibility, individual activity. Assessment of effectiveness, output objectives: Effectiveness is assessed by the realization of the aims the students set for themselves. The assessment system developed for the programme is in accordance with these aims. Teaching aids: the use of computers is of special importance Special features: various ways, individual choice, individual activity, group work, mixed-age groups Description of the sequence
The committee of teachers checks and assesses the individual works of the students against a checklist developed and agreed on beforehand. The assessment covers competences to be developed and understanding (content, defence), communication skills (form) and extra work done in the individual work (contact). The students report on their individual work, give presentations. The teacher(s) ask questions in order to get convinced of the preparedness of the students. The other students present may also ask questions. The aim of the presentation is to report on the individual work done in the framework of science education. Students prepare for the presentation in advance. In this part of the programme it is the communication skills of the students that develop. In preparing for the programme collecting information, processing data and creating synthesis was important.


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