Science learning beyond the teacher-led in Curriculum for Excellence: children’s aspirations and perceptions

Lauren Boath

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


    Aims:  This paper discusses children’s perceptions of and aspirations for science experiences beyond the teacher-led, through science centres, museums,etc.  The context is Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) in which there is recognition of learning wherever it happens and the inclusion of partners in progressing science learning is promoted

    Methods:  A children’s rights-based methodology was employed to inform and shape the research, including development of a research instrument to engage children as research advisers and participants.  A children’s research advisory group (CRAG), in which children acted as representatives of ‘people like them’,assisted objectively in the design and pre-piloting of instruments and interpreted findings from their perspectives. Over 1075 children aged 8-14 across 13 schools in five local authorities participated in the research.

    Conclusions:  This study demonstrates the use of children’s rights-based methodology in mainstream learning in CfE with the potential for children’s engagement to move beyond the tokenistic, typically seen in existing mechanisms such as pupil councils.  It offers a mechanism for including children in policy-level and school-level decisions about learning and teaching to provide insight otherwise absent from these decisions.  Insight into children’s experiences of science learning beyond the teacher-led tells us that it is not‘fun’ that they seek from science experiences, but ‘challenge and enjoyment’,and illuminates the different experiences of different groups of children.  The children’s rights-based model presents a radical opportunity to truly place the ‘learner at the centre’ and bring about transformational change in science and STEM learning.

    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2018
    EventScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
    Duration: 21 Nov 201823 Nov 2018


    ConferenceScottish Educational Research Association Annual Conference
    Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


    • Children's voice
    • UNCRC 1989
    • Science learning


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