Three Effective Techniques To Adopt In Science Teacher Training

The creation of an educational system capable of preparing people to live in the changing world is one of the crucial tasks of modern society. The rapid move over recent decades to a global knowledge economy, driven by constantly evolving information and communication technologies has created significant economic and social opportunities. Equally, it is creating enormous challenges, confronting, countries with the need to rethink their educational and social systems.

To participate in this global knowledge economy and improve their standard of living, there is a need for students to leave school with a deeper understanding of school subjects and with the skills needed to respond to an unbounded but uncertain 21st century-skills, to use their knowledge, to think critically, to collaborate, to communicate, to solve problems, to create and to continue learning.

Science education in the 21st Century must be oriented to meet the challenges of covering the entire population in promoting scientific literacy. The science teacher is the hub in this endeavor and therefore, a thorough understanding of the nature of science is a pre-requisite in this educational process. The science teacher must therefore be exposed to techniques that will help him or her to impart knowledge effectively since In this era of information technology, the role of teachers is changing from providing information to organizing a learning process. The responsibility is on teacher education institutions to rethink how they can most effectively prepare future teachers to teach for success in complex, rapidly changing world.

The following are specific techniques which are directly relevant to the teaching of Science, Mathematics and Technology that can be incorporated in the training of science teachers.

1.Cooperative learning
Peer interaction in small group work has become an important area of research in education and the opportunities for dialogue found in these cooperative learning situations are thought to provide a meaningful context for students to connect their new experiences to prior knowledge. Group dialogue permits students to present their notions about the world and have them challenged. The challenges can lead to cognitive development as individuals realign their thinking as a result of having participated in the dialogue. Cooperative group work also serves to build peer relationships that foster learning. This technique can be an effective strategy in teacher education courses. Because by working in groups, sharing ideas, and making and tasting conjectures, prospective teachers gain confidence in their own ability to develop a variety of useful problem solving strategies.

2.Problem solving
Problem solving has become the central activity in reform curricula in Mathematics science and technology because of its ability to facilitate students' construction of meaning. This impacts on teacher education programmes because if learners are to have opportunities to explore problems, then the instructor has to be able to engage learners in problems in context, push learners' thinking while their exploration is proceeding, and create a classroom environment in which all learners feel empowered to learn.

3.Problem based learning
Problem based learning is a constructivist approach, which combines problem solving and group work. It emphasizes the use of real life problems or scenarios as a stimulus for learning. The students are divided into groups of up to ten and meet twice each week under the guidance of a tutor. The process of problem based learning involves presenting the students with a scenario or case, which relates to real life, as a departure point for the learning process. The students then brainstorm themes and questions - this process is designed to allow them to clarify their preconceptions about the topic and to identify their learning needs. This technique has been used in medical and other tertiary courses, but not widely implemented in teacher education.

Teacher training institutions should adopt these techniques in teacher education, if they are to train relevant Science educators for this 21st Century.