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The Physical Sciences Consolidation Programme

 

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Programme context

Learners in the first years of secondary education most often study General Science or Natural Science or some similar more generalised approach to science which might even include aspects of other life sciences and agriculture subjects.

As soon as these learners progress to senior secondary schooling, howver, they are required to study the more specialised content and skills of the Physical Sciences.

Learners often reach senior secondary schooling with vastly differing levels of understanding of key physical sciences skills and concepts.

High standards are required of learners (and of teachers) in the senior secondary physical sciences. (School-leaving exams of the subject have often been the most difficult of all the subjects offered.)

Focus programmes to improve education in the "MST" areas (Maths, Science and Technology) often concentrate more on the "M" and much less so on the "S".

It is essential, if learners are to perform successfully in senior secondary physcial sciences, to have a strong grounding in certain skills which are not always emphasised in general / natural sciences.

The Physical Sciences Consolidation Programme

With the above context in mind, Publishng Resource Solutions through its FET Physical Sciences Project has developed and implemented a consolidation programme of teacher development and support and learner skills development.

The Physical Sciences Consolidation Programme diagnoses, remediates and reinforces essential skills and concepts that learners require to progress successfully from general science to the senior secondary physical sciences.

The programme offers opportunity for teachers and learners to consolidate knowledge and understanding of essential skills and concepts in terms of:

  • time – the programme runs for a consolidated ("short, sharp, focused") period of time, and
  • material – syllabus content is consolidated into skills, processes and concepts in preparation for improved senior secondary (FET grades 10, 11 and 12) performance.

The consolidation programme might ideally be implemented

  • in grade 9, in the first 4 to 5 weeks of the last term of the school year,
  • in grade 10, in the first 4 to 5 weeks of the first term.

The Physical Sciences Consolidation Programme provides:

  • Initial 1– or 2–day (or longer, as required) workshops at which teachers receive up–grade training in the teaching of physical sciences;
  • Learner and teacher copies of Preparing for FET Physical Sciences;
  • A recommended week–by–week programme for teachers to apply for duration of the consolidation programme;
  • Baseline testes of skills as well as content to be competed by all learners prior to commencement of the consolidation programme – which testing is assessed by the FET Physical Sciences project
  • Identification via this testing of learners' problem areas, and the provision of guidance to teachers as to where to focus remediation efforts;
  • Summative testing of skills and content of all learners on completion of the consolidation programme – which testing is again assessed by the FET Physical Sciences project.
  • Feedback to teachers on testing results, learner performance over programme duration and areas for further skills reinforcement.
  • Follow–up teacher workshops for teacher mentoring, and for further assessment and evaluation of teachers and of the effectiveness of the consolidation programme itself.

The Physical Sciences Consolidation Programme is supported by a course book entitled Preparing for FET Physical Sciences.