Teacher and policy views compared

Evidence from a transnational survey of teachers, and classroom fieldwork, was compared to analyses of national policy. The project found commonalities between views of science and mathematics education expressed by teachers and within policy. There was a common emphasis in the early years on the importance of play, exploration, investigation and the promotion of curiosity or thinking skills. Teachers attached greater importance to social and affective factors in learning, such as increasing interest, than did policy.

Although policy in many of the partner countries advocated inquiry-based approaches, there were few explicit references to creativity in learning, or specific curriculum or assessment requirements. This provided arguably conflicting and incoherent support for teachers and schools. Where creativity was mentioned the emphasis was generally on the generation of ideas, rather than creativity in their evaluation and development.

This resulted in the project calling for:

  • Changes in national policies aims to give greater recognition to young children’s capabilities to engage with processes associated with evaluation as well as the generation of ideas in science and mathematics;
  • Policies which aim to foster the role of social and affective dimensions of learning and their connection with cognitive dimensions of learning such as engagement, evaluation skills and under- standings related to the nature of science;
  • Changes to the policy guidance which supports teaching, learning and assessment in this area;
  • Extended opportunities for teacher education to support inquiry and creativity in science and mathematics education.

The content of effective teacher development was proposed in the fourth theme, ‘developing practice in classroom and teacher education’. Practical work to develop materials is being taken forward by the follow-on project Creativity in Early Years Science Education (CEYS).

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