Over the course of several months, parents have asked us why we choose to specialise in a single subject. Some are eager for us to start a Math & English programme so that The Science Clinic can be a one-stop centre where their children can attend lessons in all three subjects.
At the same time, some of our well-wishers also worry about whether the subject specialisation that we practice comes at an economic cost to us. We thank the parents for their vote of confidence that they would send their children for Math & English lessons with us if we were to start such programmes and we also thank our well-wishers for their concern for our well-being.
So why do we specialise in Science ?
Well for starters, we’d have to change our name and we don’t want to do that because we really, really like our name!
Ok, seriously though let’s try and explain our rationale for specialisation.
To put is simply, we focus exclusively on Science so that we have more time to concentrate on what’s trending globally in Science pedagogy and assessment. We then brainstorm ways to utilise this research to enrich and improve our students’ learning.
How often have you picked up your child’s Science assessment paper and said to yourself, “Woah, I don’t remember doing all this for Science when I was in primary school”? Well, you are not alone. Even teachers have to constantly learn and innovate to adapt their lessons to meet the changing demands of the syllabus and their changing roles of being either providers or facilitators of knowledge or sometimes a little bit of both. So “faced with growing expectations for the depth of student learning, [we thought it] fair to question whether this jack-of-all-trades approach is still the best way to educate…” (Roy,2016), and we decided that to do justice to our students and to ourselves, we needed to focus.
At the same time, the nature of Science assessment these days is such that mere knowledge acquisition alone will not get you very far. A clear understanding and the ability to apply this knowledge are the keys to success and “…fostering this level of understanding…with [students at] varying degrees of readiness is [already] a tall order in a single subject area…” (Roy, 2016) so imagine having to do that across three subject domains!
So in a nutshell that’s why we specialise in Science. But that does not stop us from keeping abreast with what’s important for the overall development for the child as well as education in general. So as Howard (1969) puts it, we are specialists and yet still “generalist[s] in the sense of concern for diagnosing children’s unique learning needs, selecting appropriate materials for children, and opening up new doors to learning…”
Howard, E. (1969) ‘A Look At Specialisation’, Educational Leadership, pp. 547–550.
Roy, J. (2016) ‘The Benefits of Teacher Specialisation in the Upper Elementary Classroom’, linkedin pulse, 18 January. Available at: www.linkedin.com/pulse/benefits-teacher-specialisation-upper-elementary-classroom-jesse-roy (Accessed: 01 February 2016).