We have all read the news about how Australian students are being outperformed by many other countries in the areas of Maths and Science. The performance of students at Moerlina School is bucking this trend.
In case you’ve missed it, three of our students won distinctions in the national ICAS Maths and Science competitions and the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC) last year, and the year before one of our students was awarded a top prize in the AMC.
To me, our students’ achievements were no surprise, because of the way we teach Science and Maths at Moerlina.
Moerlina has a long and strong history of inquiry-based education. Children are naturally curious; they love to explore and are excited by new discoveries – Science lends itself so well to this approach.
And this may be just what all Australian students need. The world leading scientist and physics educator, Eric Mazur, commented recently on Australia’s falling standards on international assessment and how to improve them (Click here to read the full article).
In his view, we need to cultivate the natural curiosity of children through our approach to teaching. Mazur focuses on the benefits of inquiry-based teaching and learning, as opposed to the more traditional pedagogical practice of information transfer. This inquiry approach supports learners in applying their Science knowledge and skills to different situations, rather than just getting answers right in a test. He argues that it is not about what a teacher knows, but how they teach that will enable success (and a joy of learning) for students.
Mazur talks about “teaching by asking, rather than telling”. He values the learning that takes place through peer interaction –fundamental beliefs that are evident in the pedagogical practices not only in Science, but in all learning areas and across all age groups, at Moerlina.
Not only do our students perform well in Science, we generally hear that it is one of their favourite subjects. This almost speaks for itself. This year we will also be organising exciting, interactive and hands-on STEAM challenge days, where our students can apply what they’ve learned and make new discoveries.
Click here to read the December 2016 POST article about the Moerlina ICAS and AMC competition winners.