Icelandic adventure to inspire teachers to take learning outside the classroom

Posted by pt91 at May 31, 2012 10:39 AM |
Trip to Iceland will give teachers the tools to organise beneficial school trips for pupils

Issued by University of Leicester Press Office on 31 May 2012

Twelve teachers are taking an educational trip to Iceland to learn about innovative ways to teach science outside a classroom setting, thanks to the Science Learning Centre East Midlands at the University of Leicester.

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Study Visit, from 3 to 9 June 2012 will demonstrate cutting-edge science in a real-world context, helping teachers bring the subject to life for their pupils and giving them the confidence to organise inspirational school trips.

A 2008 Ofsted report highlighted the benefits of 'Learning Outside the Classroom', such as better achievement and motivation in pupils, but many schools do not reap the full benefits of outside trips and teachers may lack the skills and resources they need to teach science outside the conventional classroom setting.

Sue Bull, Director of the Science Learning Centre, which is run by the University of Leicester, said:

"The trip will enhance the teacher's subject interest and knowledge of contemporary science in real life contexts, as well as increasing their confidence and knowledge of locations to facilitate ‘Learning Outside the Classroom'.

"The trip also allows an exchange of ideas about teaching How Science Works with colleagues in an informal setting. In addition the trip lends itself to the acquisition of leadership and team building skills, as well as providing teachers with the necessary skills to organise and lead similar trips for, and with, their students."

The teachers will spend a week in the Haukadalur Geothermal field, where some of the best geysers in the world are located alongside a range of interesting geothermal features. As part of the expedition, the teachers will undertake a research project inspired by ongoing scientific studies taking place in Iceland.

Sue Bull said: "The main benefit of the trip is that each teacher has had the opportunity to design and carry out a STEM related project that they have devised which links with an area of personal interest and that of their school/college and students. Each project ties in to an area of the National Curriculum and where possible links to scientific research currently taking place.

"Iceland is an interesting and diverse country with lots of potential areas for STEM study, such as ecology, glaciology, volcanology and practical field studies techniques such as sampling, statistics and navigation. It is also somewhere that few people travel to, apart from the capital city, so there is the opportunity to explore a range of landscapes and natural phenomena including geothermal power generation."

The trip also provides an opportunity for professional development, helping teachers acquire and enhance team-building and leadership skills that can benefit them in their careers. The organisers hope the expedition will inspire teachers to take school children on study visits to Iceland.

The STEM Study Visit has been developed by the Science Learning Centre East Midlands in collaboration with their colleagues at the Science Learning Centre Yorkshire and the Humber, whose co director, Julie Jordan, will be the CPD leader for the trip, and Bull Precision Expeditions Ltd (BPE), a company that specialises in bespoke, made-to-measure expeditions.

The trip has been well-received, said Sue Bull: "This is the first trip the Science Learning Centre East Midlands has organised of this length and duration, and the first trip abroad. We plan to do another trip with our colleagues at the Science Learning Centre Yorkshire & Humber. It has been successfully received and we are hoping to organise another trip next year."

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For more information, please contact Sue Bull on 0116 252 3745 or email smb41@le.ac.uk

About Science Learning Centres:

The Science Learning Centre East Midlands opened in October 2004 and is run by the University of Leicester. The Centre works to promote effective teaching of science by helping teachers connect with cutting-edge scientific research.

For more information, see the SLCEM website: https://www.le.ac.uk/slcem/content/welcome.html

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