Thursday, April 14, 2011

The final version of the proposed framework for basic education (Grades 1 to 10) was submitted to the Science Education Institute, Department of Science and Technology last September 2010. The curriculum framework is the overall structure for organizing learning and teaching of science. The goal remains to be the development of scientifically, technologically, and environmentally literate individuals who have developed inquiry skills and attitudes that will enable them to maintain good health and live safely, utilize energy and cope with change, and conserve and protect the environment.

The framework is organized around three interlocking components namely: inquiry skills, scientific attitudes, and content and connections, as shown in the diagram. Being interrelated, these components are woven together in order to support the holistic development of a scientifically literate individual. The framework sets out what all students should know, understand, value, and be able to do from Grade 1 to Grade 10. The Technical Working Group deems it best to use Grades 1 to 10 instead of Grades 1 to Year 4 to emphasize that there is no break in the continuum of the curriculum from elementary school to high school. There are three overarching themes: maintaining good health and living safely; utilizing energy and coping with changes; and conserving and protecting the environment. These themes are used in various real-life contexts across grade levels.

Taken as a whole, students in each grade level learn about the three content areas (life science, physical science, and earth and space sciences) in one school year. Such an organization emphasizes comprehension of the connections and interrelationships of various science concepts. This is in contrast to the traditional presentation of science content as separate subjects where knowledge is taught to build mastery of a collection of isolated facts, principles, and procedures.

Rather than prescriptive, the framework’s basic purpose is to provide a structure around which educators, curriculum developers, textbook writers, and teachers can develop instructional materials incorporating coherent learning activities and experiences that prepare students to become scientifically literate in a dynamic, rapidly changing, and increasingly technological society.

Meanwhile, the final version of the proposed framework for teacher education incorporates rubrics for evaluating the performance of science teachers. The levels of performance are more detailed for the following categories of characteristics of an effective science teacher, as shown in the diagram below: possesses professional knowledge, exhibits professional practice, and possesses professional attributes. The standards set forth in this framework also became the basis for revising the science content in the general education curriculum of the new teacher education curriculum. To prepare future teachers and ensure their full understanding, the components of the science curriculum framework for basic education had been integrated in the standards for effective science teachers.