Outside the laboratory windows was a watery-grey fog, and within a close warmth and the yellow light of the green-shaded gas lamps that stood two to each table down its narrow length. On each table stood a couple of glass jars containing the mangled vestiges of the crayfish, mussels, frogs, and guinea-pigs upon which the students had been working, and down the side of the room, facing the windows, were shelves bearing bleached dissections in spirits, surmounted by a row of beautifully executed anatomical drawings in white-wood frames and overhanging a row of cubical lockers. All the doors of the laboratory were panelled with blackboard, and on these were the half-erased diagrams of the previous day's work. The laboratory was empty, save for the demonstrator, who sat near the preparation-room door, and silent, save for a low, continuous murmur and the clicking of the rocker microtome at which he was working. But scattered about the room were traces of numerous students: hand-bags, polished boxes of instruments, in one place a large drawing covered by newspaper, and in another a prettily bound copy of News from Nowhere, a book oddly at variance with its surroundings. These things had been put down hastily as the students had arrived and hurried at once to secure their seats in the adjacent lecture theatre.
Scientific literacy is generally valued and acknowledged among educators as a desirable student learning outcome. However, what scientific literacy really means in terms of classroom practice and student learning is debatable due to the inherent complexity of the term and varying expectations of what it means for learning outcomes. To date the teacher voice has been noticeably absent from this debate even though the very nature of teacher expertise lies at the heart of the processes which shape students' scientific literacy. The chapters that comprise this book tap into the expertise of a group of primary teachers from Our Lady of Good Counsel (OLGC), a primary school that chose to actively engage in teaching for scientific literacy. By analyzing the insights and thinking that emerged as they attempted to unravel some of the pedagogical complexities associated with constructing an understanding of scientific literacy in their own classrooms, these teachers demonstrate the professional knowledge and skill inherent in the expertise of teaching and learning science in a primary classroom. The chapters in this book illustrate the processes and structures that were created at OGLC to provide the conditions that allowed these teachers to explore and build on the range of ideas that informed their approach to teaching for scientific literacy. This book is a compelling example of how a whole school approach to scientific literacy can make a difference for students' learning of science and offer a concrete example of the development of professional knowledge and practice of teachers.
Electron microscopes operate in an unworldly vacuum and with an electron beam generated by many tens of thousands of volts. Similarly, when I become a Christian, I am invited to operate in an otherworldly environment, and with the energy generated by the Creator of the universe.
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