A significant portion of each SESE (Science education) module concentrates on developing the participants’ subject matter knowledge and strengthening their conceptual understanding in science, in-order to be able to teach science concepts in a meaningful way in the primary science classroom. Lectures and workshops allow engagement with scientific phenomena and understanding of a topic rather than mere coverage of knowledge. The participants are challenged conceptually and allowed time to reflect on their misconceptions. At the beginning of every topic the participants’ knowledge and understandings of the topic and subject matter knowledge in science is identified.
The lectures/workshops also include teaching and learning strategies and techniques to improve the participants’ Pedagogical Content Knowledge i.e. the delivery of science content using specific, effective and appropriate teaching and learning approaches for understanding. The modules provide learning experiences which allow the linking of theory to practice thus directly linking SMK (Subject Matter Knowledge), Pedagogical Knowledge (PK) and Contextual Knowledge (CK), allowing students to develop an understanding of scientific ideas and concepts and translate this into effective pedagogy.
When classroom practice is being used as a vehicle for course delivery, lectures concentrate on children’s prior knowledge and misconceptions and best practices to change these misunderstandings, developing a deeper understanding in the topic. The lectures cover the children’s scientific knowledge, understanding and misunderstandings in science at different stages in their cognitive development, incorporating teaching strategies to challenge and develop the students’ ideas and restructure their understanding (and misunderstandings) in science. The lectures provide students with teaching strategies to provoke discussion, argumentation and to stimulate scientific thinking and promoting scientific process skills in primary pupils.