Teaching and Learning in Geoscience Education
- Mode of study
- Part time
- Natural Sciences
- Clare Sillitto
- Subject Area
- Natural Sciences
Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Geology numbers in the sector have been and remain unstable. Therefore, to meet the needs and supply of specialist teachers of school/college examination-level Geology (in GCSE, A-level or Scottish Higher courses) a course has been devised to train practising or newly-qualified teachers to provide geoscience education to school-level Geology classes.
About the course
Keele University has a track record in training geology teachers extending for more than thirty years. In recent years it has also hosted the Earth Science Education Unit which has trained more than 38,000 science, geography and primary teaching in the teaching of Earth Science across the UK. The course is hosted by Keele University’s School of Geography, Geology and the Environment which has a strong reputation for the training of geologists lasting for many years and a reputation for innovation in teaching, recognised by many awards. The course depends upon the industrial bursaries obtained to run the course.
The 2020 Summer School for the Teaching and Learning in Geoscience Education module:
- runs at Keele University for seven days from 27th July 2020 and at a similar time in following years;
- is an intensive course preparing trained teachers (usually of science or geography) to teach Geology at A- and GCSE level and to contribute to the Higher in Environmental Studies in Scotland;
- is designed for participants to build on their experience and teaching skills by developing their subject knowledge and related pedagogical understanding in Geology/science whilst reflecting on and improving their practice;
- is run by Professor Chris King and supported by lecturers and examiners in Geology education;
- is accredited by Keele University and is worth 15 credits that can be passed at postgraduate or professional level;
- carries an Earth Science Education Unit Professional Development Certificate;
- is supported by industrial bursaries, so is free of charge to those UK/EU citizens that meet the competitive bursary criteria;
- costs £1,800 for those UK/EU citizens for whom a bursary is not available;
- is supported by the UK Onshore Geophysical Library (UKOGL), the Warwickshire Geographical Conservation Group (WGCG), and the Building Earth Science Education Resilience (BESER) group.
Aims of the course
Successful completion of this module provides participants with the knowledge and skills to teach school/ college examination-level geology (in GCSE, A-level or Scottish Higher courses).
Keele University’s accredited Teaching and Learning in Geoscience Education is managed by the Earth Science Education Unit supported by the School of Geography, Geology and Environment. Successful completion of this module (15 credits at level 7) entitles participants to an Earth Science Education Unit CPD Certificate in Geoscience Education and a transcript from Keele University.
The module enables teachers to develop their teaching practice (skills, knowledge and values) and provides a dynamic, critical reflective rationale for their teaching practice. This reflection has a range of sources: personal experience, the experiences of others, observation of teaching, practical and task-related discussion with peers, and relevant reading.
The module is delivered through a week-long residential summer school, 27th July - 2nd August 2020, based at Keele University.
Professional competence, normally:
- a degree comprising 40% geology or equivalent, e.g. through higher degree or professional educational experience;
- professional experience of teaching 14-16 year old examination courses e.g. GCSE and/or post-16 examination courses e.g. A-level or Scottish Higher (normally in geology, science or geography)
Occupational background, normally:
- a practising teacher, or newly qualified teacher who has recently completed training, with Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) or equivalent;
- a desire to develop or contribute to a school/college examination-level course in or containing geology (GCSE, A-level or Scottish Higher).
The strategy for teaching the programme and the content of the sessions has been determined through a developmental workshop led by the Earth Science Education Unit, involving members of the Earth Science Teachers’ Association and representatives of the two Awarding Bodies that offer A-level Geology, OCR and WJEC.
Sessions are prepared through the perspective of what it means to ‘think like a geologist’ and use the content of the current geology examination specifications (syllabuses) as a foundation, but incorporating a wide range of activities developed at Keele University, through the Earth Science Education Unit, through Earthlearningidea and also through innovative fieldwork approaches also developed at Keele University. The content also counters common geoscience misconceptions, identified through work at Keele University.
Students who successfully complete this module will be able to:
- demonstrate the level of subject knowledge necessary for the teaching of A-level Geology;
- critically evaluate a range of different strategies utilised in effective and interactive teaching of Geology, including practical approaches and fieldwork, and demonstrate an integrative understanding of those strategies;
- articulate a critical evaluation of their own learning and acquisition of the relevant geoscience teaching skills;
- design, plan and critically evaluate a detailed Scheme of Work (SoW), with appropriate assessment, for delivering and formatively assessing an A-level geology course, including reflections on the design issues and principles, development methods and tools used;
- critically evaluate their plan for the delivery of higher level geoscience and educational skills.
Teaching and assessment
The course will address the teaching of the following, through practical interactive approaches wherever possible:
- ‘thinking like a geologist’;
- rock identification from first principles;
- the rock cycle;
- the Earth’s structure and plate tectonics;
- sedimentary rocks and palaeoenvironments;
- geological time, dating and correlation;
- structural geology;
- natural hazards;
- economic geology including hydrogeology;
- engineering geology;
- mapwork and three dimensional thinking.
It will also cover:
- introduction to conducting fieldwork;
- introduction to the sources of support and materials available to the geoscience teacher;
- devising schemes of work;
- overseeing the teaching of national curriculum Earth science;
- writing a reflective log;
- writing at Master’s level;
- marketing an examination course in geology.
The A-level Scheme of Work (SoW), initially developed by collaborative group activity during the week, will be further developed after the end of the taught course by each student. A 2,500 to 3,000 word reflective and analytical commentary on the construction of the SoW for the teaching of A-level geology will then be added.
The SoW should be capable of being implemented by participants directly in their own teaching situations. This development of an individual SoW requires participants to reflect critically upon their own learning, compare the ideas incorporated in the SoW against their own professional experience and knowledge and compare their work with SoWs (available on the internet) created by practising A-level Geology teachers in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It should also include critical evaluation of other resources available to the geology teacher.
2. Reflective Diary
Participants are required to maintain a critically reflective diary with critical commentary on their day-to-day learning experiences during the Summer School, comprising 1,500 words. The diary must demonstrate an analytic and evaluative approach to their own learning experiences.
Apart from inter-library loans (if necessary) and potential overdue library fines we do not anticipate any additional costs for this postgraduate module.
- free of charge to those UK/EU citizens that meet the competitive bursary criteria;
- £1,800* for those UK/EU citizens for whom a bursary is not available.
* includes accommodation, hospitality and fieldwork excursions.