PGCE Professional Workbook: Primary Science

Author(s) Keogh, Maylor, de Boo and Barnes
Published 2000
Pages 136
ISBN 1903300630
Reviewed by Hellen Ward
Canterbury Christ Church University College
Review published 1 December 2004

This book is aimed at Postgraduate trainees to help them to identify strengths and areas for further development. It is written around the professional standards for the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). It allows students to assess their own level of competence and makes suggestions for how they will move towards QTS status. The book contains 5 sections and has a number of themes that run throughout the document. These themes are related to the professional standards and at intervals tables are produced for the student to record judgements about their progress against these standards. Each judgement is dated and this allows the student to review their perception of progress. The statements relating to the standards are in three bands, getting started, developing your skills and extending your skills. Discussion with a teacher, tutor or other professional colleague is recommended when the students summarise their professional development.

Chapter 1 begins with a clear introduction, which states that the reader is setting out on journey that will be completed with the children. It introduces the 'icons' that are used throughout the book. The authors suggest that these are the key features of the book; they include suggestions for further reading, a cross-reference symbol, and a light bulb to show where an example is being used and a hand to demonstrate where there is an activity that the student should undertake.

Chapter 2 provides guidance and a needs analysis section. At no point in the book is it suggested that the student will have definitely met the standards. It states that if they achieve evidence in all areas of the needs analysis table then it will be likely that they are close to achieving the Standards for QTS. The book revolves around a classroom story, which is then referred to at different times thought the book. Terminology could be used more carefully at times, for example, investigation and scientific enquiry are used in many ways. In addition some of the words that are used are not explained so trainees need to know what data loggers are as well risk assessment etc. The chapter concludes by providing a table that provides an overview of an individual training plan (ITP)

The remaining chapters follow a similar format with a table (ITP) introducing the themes and activities covered in that section. These are referenced to the standards and allow the student to date their evidence.

Chapter 3 is entitled "Getting started" and is aimed at the first experiences in school.

Chapter 4: is focused on developing skills and could be undertaken on a second school practice.

Chapter 5 is about extending the skills and could relate to a final practice in schools.

All these chapters have clear activities, reflective questions and tables for the trainee to plot and date their progress. At times the book is political and uses emotive language. It is well structured as the authors feel that " it is easy for your work in school to be random and reactive so that there is no structure to your experiences and no direction to your learning". To help counteract this they provide more than 38 reading symbols, and 58 practical tasks for the students to undertake. As a result it provides a course on its own. For providers who already have courses running with lectures, school based tasks and reflective assignments the amount of additional work that students would have to compete make it unreasonable. However for providers who are developing, revalidating or moving towards a more flexible learning model, this book contains a comprehensive look at teaching and learning science. The successful use of this book does however depend upon students being given opportunities in school to plan their work around the tasks and ideas. For some students in some schools this would be a difficult task.