The TESSA Teaching Lower Secondary Science Units are designed to support teachers in developing active and participatory approaches to learning and to aid teacher educators as they work to develop these approaches with pre-service and in-service teachers. The pedagogy modelled in the units is based on five principles:
- Students are knowledgeable. They do not come to the classroom as ‘empty vessels’ for teachers to ‘fill’ with knowledge. They come with knowledge and experience of the world.
- The teacher’s job is to elicit prior knowledge and to help the students develop new understandings.
- All students should be treated with respect and included in the lesson.
- Learning opportunities should be structured, with students having the chance to learn from each other.
- Dialogue and discussion are an important part of learning. Students will learn more if they have the opportunity to talk about their developing ideas.
The materials are designed to be used in work with pre-service teachers and with experienced teachers. They aim to exemplify ways to make lessons student-centred, helping teacher educators and the teachers they are educating grow in confidence in offering engaging, inclusive lessons. As their confidence develops, they will be able to develop new units to teach other curriculum topics more effectively.