This exercise gives the participants arguments in support of using study visits in their teaching. The exercise is also to help the participants recognize the things they already do in cooperation with contacts outside the school. A further aim for this exercise is to develop various ideas for school projects.
Ask the question:
Why are study visits powerful pedagogical tools? and ask the participants to write their arguments on post-it notes.
Put the notes on the wall, categorize them and discuss the various arguments!
The next step is to discuss the question in a more concrete way using the participants own experiences.
Ask the question: What study visits to you usually arrange?
- Write up the examples that come forward, categorize these and discuss them:
- What practical arrangements are made?
- What preparatory work and follow-up work is done?
- To what extent do we use laboratory sessions and/or model building to increase understanding?
- How would our visits be benefited from working with IBSE more specifically?
After this, divide the participants into groups of 3 – 4 people with the task of discussing the problems and possibilities associated with arranging study visits as part of their teaching.
The course leader distributes five large sheets of paper to each group. Use the sheets of paper in the following way:
- Individual responses: Each participant should have their own sheet of paper (sheets 1, 2, and 3) Task: Write down your best idea for using a study visit in your teaching, assuming there are no limits to you resources. Let your imagination take over!
- The group then works collectively on the fourth sheet of paper. Task: Write a list of the visions held by the members of the group, what each would like to do.
- Task: Assume a critical role and identify the things that would hinder the carrying out of each suggestion.
- Task: Choose the strongest project and made a concrete plan of action to carry it out.
- Cross-group presentations: The members of each group are given a letter name A, B, C etc. All the “As” go to one table, the “Bs” to another and “Cs” to a third. One person in each group has the “home group’s” papers and does a presentation for three minutes. The groups then change table and there is another presentation – and so on. The course leader’s role is to mark clearly when it is time to shift to new groups.
This activity has given the participants the opportunity to see and discuss how study visits can be used in teaching. They have also looked at their own usual teaching strategies and found good examples that they already employ. Finally, they have practised the skill of reviewing project ideas and giving and receiving criticism.