Science teachers at most of the island’s public secondary schools now have the tools to make the subject more exciting for students after attending a two-day Science Ingenuity Workshop earlier this month.
The workshop, an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology, and Innovation, through The National Council for Science and Technology (NCST), was held at the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College, Pine Hill, St. Michael. It was conducted by global science innovator and trainer, Dr. Ed Sobey, of the United States of America.
Dr. Sobey, a prolific author, teaches for Semester at Sea, a floating university, which is accredited by Colorado State University. He has taught courses at California State University, Fresno and the University of Washington. Most of his career has evolved around running science centres, including the National Inventors Hall of Fame.
At the Hall of Fame, he has met many of the world’s most successful inventors and has developed the Ingenuity pedagogy based on the methods they used to become successful.
Acting Director of the NCST, Charles Cyrus, said that several international development agencies, including the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Organization of American States and the World Bank have identified innovation as critical to a country’s development and growth.
He explained that the aim of the workshop was to build capacity for cultivating innovation at the secondary school level.
“The main objective was to expose science teachers to teaching methods associated with nurturing creativity and innovation in children. The workshop focused on using inexpensive, locally available materials to construct simple experiments with limited rules. Participants worked in teams and the idea behind this approach was to allow the participants the freedom to create and explore various options, using their creativity.
“The results of the experiments then formed the basis for discussion and learning, where insights from the experiments were analysed. This teaching approach – team work, experimentation and analysis – enables the participants to model the behavior which is necessary for their students to emulate, in order to think creatively and develop innovative solutions,” Mr. Cyrus stated.
The teachers, as well as Education Officers for Science and Mathematics from the Ministry, who participated in the training workshop, now become part of the international network of trainees created by Dr. Sobey. This facility enables them to collaborate and share experiences with their global counterparts for the benefit of their students.