15 May 2007

Pirates at school - 're-imagine' that

At last the science teachers of this country are waking up!

They have finally realised the old ways of teaching science are "failing to excite the interest" of contemporary school students.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) today admitted the "failure of school science to respond to the changing needs of students and the changing nature of science itself has created a crisis in Australian science education that shows no sign of abating".

Harr, them's fightin' words. But there's more, you motley bunch.

In its media release, the ACER says a new review by Deakin University Professor of Science Education Russell Tytler is calling for major reform of the science curriculum, arguing "the time has passed for tinkering around the edges of a science curriculum that belongs to the past".

It says the review wants to see a 're-imagined' science education that focuses on "engaging all young people in science".

"We see clear evidence that the curriculum and classroom practice are failing to excite the interest of many, if not most, young people at a time when science is a driving force behind so many developments and issues in contemporary society," Professor Tytler writes.

Hear hear. At the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, we couldn't agree more.

Modern science teaching is clearly missing the point.

Where are the teachers dressed as pirates?

Where are the classroom projects finding the mountains of evidence of His Noodly role in creating the earth -- starting, in fact, with the mountains themselves?

And above all, where is the research into the true causes of global warming? (And you'll walk the plank afore noon if you pretend you don't know, sonny.)

We welcome the opportunity for major reform, and we're strapping our cutlasses on as we speak (subject to a health and safety audit before we enter the school grounds). Pastafarians across Australia stand ready to enrich the teaching of science, and perhaps to add a touch of touch of salt to the water.

The good Professor says "school science is too heavily skewed towards the abstract conceptual canon of science". Absolutely. We stand by to haul our own very real canon aboard and start blasting away.
For a start, down with shorts and long socks! (You know who you are.) Down with the periodic table. (Surely the occasional table does the job well enough.) Down with an empirical approach that struggles to explain the world without recourse to the FSM.

And I ask you: what is more exciting or interesting than the life of a pirate?

Did someone say marinara?