A new book by a University of Dundee academic aimed at enabling pupils to progress away from dependency on classroom teachers and develop independent learning skills will be released this week.
‘Developing Independent Learning in Science’ is written by Dr Liz Lakin from the University’s College of Arts and Social Sciences. Aimed at teachers, student teachers and other educators, it outlines strategies and techniques that allow youngsters to learn independently as they study science subjects.
By encouraging pupils in the 7-12 age bracket to take greater responsibility for their own learning, teachers can help them to become both creative in their thinking and critical in their understanding. Dr Lakin describes a progression away from dependency on the classroom teacher, whose role changes to that of facilitator.
Dr Lakin said, “There is increasingly a problem with a shortage of people choosing to study science subjects beyond the age where it is compulsory for them to do so. If we make science more accessible to them then their understanding and enjoyment will increase and they will be more likely to continue with these subjects.
“At the same time, enabling them to think independently and critically from an early age will bring children enormous benefits no matter what they choose to go on and do with their lives. I have aimed to provide a guide to practical ideas and activities that teachers can introduce to encourage independent learning in primary school children; a skill set they can then develop further and take with them into all aspects of their learning.”
Drawing on practice-based research, Dr Lakin introduces the skills and processes associated with independent learning through established strategies such as active learning techniques, problem solving activities and peer-assessment.
Each chapter presents tried and tested ideas, strategies and activities for the development of skills such as application, synthesis, evaluation and reflection to use with pupils across the dependency spectrum. Several relate to the higher levels of attainment and the effectiveness of teacher/pupil feedback and the role of homework form a significant focus for the book.
‘Developing Independent Learning in Science’ is published by Open University Press cost £21.99. An eBook version will follow later this year.
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