‘Primary Science: A Guide to Teaching Practice’ is an important new contribution to the advancement of Science in Education. Written by Dr Mick Dunne the Head of Initial Teacher Training at Bradford College and Alan Peacock Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter, the book successfully unravels and demystifies how science can be intelligently linked to the wider primary curriculum.
The book offers sharp insights and valuable contributions to the wider debate surrounding the multitude of challenges and opportunities facing students studying primary science on primary initial teacher education courses.
In an extract from the opening pages, Dr Mick Dunne and Alan Peacock write: ‘It would be misleading to give the impression that good science teaching is easy. Report after report on primary science teaching has emphasised teachers’ anxieties about subject knowledge and their lack of confidence and the situation is not helped by the emphasis on the constant requirement for testing learners’ knowledge of science ideas.’
Dr Mick Dunne and Alan Peacock further contend ‘That by the end of primary school, in many contexts, children are already beginning to be turned off science, and sadly this decline can continue into secondary school’.
Written directly for initial teacher education students, the textbook aims to reverse the trend by supporting classroom practice and providing a broad survey of key aspects of primary science teaching including: the role of science in the curriculum, communication and literacy in science teaching, science outside the classroom, transitional issues and assessment.
Dr Mick Dunne elaborating further said: “Primary science is not an easy subject to teach. Most teachers would say it’s one of the subjects that really cause them concern on the basis of their knowledge. They also say they haven’t got the repertoire of teaching approaches to draw on so they don’t feel particularly skilled in science.”
“The book is really here to help students see that they can teach science better without having to label themselves ‘Scientists’. It challenges the readers not to be conventional and conformist, to take risk and improving the quality of teaching and learning provision.”
The book has met with critical acclaim with one reviewer describing the book as: ‘Aspiring and newly qualified teachers will find in this book invaluable advice discussing reasons for and ways to implement teaching approaches that support primary children’s effective learning in science. This book is important reading for beginning primary teachers throughout the UK’ - Wynne Harlen, OBE, Visiting Professor, University of Bristol.
Dr Mick Dunne continued: “We’ve listened to students from various colleges and universities around the country; they’ve told us the really important things they felt the book should contain and what to keep out. The students were a powerful influence in shaping the content of this book. Both Alan and I owe them a big debt of gratitude for their help in creating a book that is really quite different.”
As noted leaders in their field, Dr Mick Dunne and Alan Peacock demonstrate an enduring commitment for science in education, by providing practical materials to help make early experiences of teaching easier and more satisfying for those starting out in their teaching careers.
Dr Mick Dunne reflected: “The world of education is ever changing and the very best teachers change with that world, adapt and respond. They don’t move away from the need to provide their children with a good, high quality educational experience.”
Through the book ‘Primary Science: A Guide to Teaching Practice’, Dr Mick Dunne and Alan Peacock have successfully garnered significant support for science at the heart of primary education and for it to be taught in a more open, dynamic and responsive way so both children and teachers benefit from the innovative approach to teaching.