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Teachers to receive much-needed science training

28 November 2013

Immediate Release

Teachers to receive much-needed science training

Teachers’ pleas for quality professional development in science have been answered through a new partnership between The MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology and NZEI Te Riu Roa’s professional development arm.

The announcement comes just as the Government has announced $3 million to support primary school science teachers after scrapping school science advisors when National Standards were introduced four years ago.

NZEI’s Te Kete Aronui Centre of Educational Excellence has forged an agreement with The MacDiarmid Institute to offer practical science training to early childhood and primary teachers.

Almost 60 per cent of teachers don’t feel they have the necessary skills to teach science to a diverse range of Year 4 students, according to a 2012 study by the Ministry of Education. 

NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said the study had found that there were very few opportunities for primary students to engage in hands-on science activities, such as experiments.

“To inspire children to pursue science-based careers, science has to be practical and interesting. This partnership with hands-on scientists will equip teachers to effectively teach science,” she said.

“The Government’s announcement of $3 million in professional development funding confirms the gaping need for investment in this part of the curriculum.”

The MacDiarmid Institute, a Government-funded Centre of Research Excellence, brings together and equips New Zealand’s leading researchers in nanotechnology and materials science. The Institute is committed to engendering a passion for science and innovation across society.  

“Our intention is that through this partnership, primary and early childhood teachers feel supported and connected in their science-based professional development. It is our hope that all teachers will be confident to lead science learning. We can provide active science researchers as a source of inspiration and information,” said The MacDiarmid Institute’s Director, Professor Kate McGrath.

NZEI members have identified science as a priority area for professional learning, and are particularly interested in exploring the Nature of Science strand of the curriculum and building their confidence as teachers of science.

A "Korero with Scientists" series, which provides teachers with an opportunity to engage with scientists who live in their region has already been trialled and was so successful, it is being developed into a full nation-wide trial programme which will roll out from Term 1 2014.

The Centre of Educational Excellence is a not-for-profit incorporated society, established in 2012 to offer learning and development opportunities for teachers that may not be available elsewhere. It is funded by course or other fees to cover the costs of courses and resources.

ENDS

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