Scientific Literacy

AC1 – Explanation of the concept of scientific literacy

A lack of scientific literacy could result in false scientific conclusions being made. The following example highlights the importance of scientific literacy in the media.

In 2000, the first Dore Centre was established in the UK and claimed that it could provide the “miracle cure” for Dyslexia. The Dore Programme was developed by British businessman, Wynford Dore – whose daughter was severely dyslexic – and claimed to be effective against Dyslexia, ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome and various other learning difficulties. It was described as a programme of physical and mental exercise that “fine tunes and hard wires” the skill development parts of the brain to ensure that learning becomes easier and happens more naturally.

However as time passed, this “revolutionary” method of curing dyslexia was proven to be false. Firstly, the International Dyslexia Association stated the Dore Programme to have false claims due to the fact that, despite the functions of a Dyslexic brain differing from those a non-Dyslexic, they claimed that all brains were the same in the skill development centre. To further disprove the Dore Programme’s claims, Dorothy Bishop, psychology professor at Oxford University, stated that the published studies regarding the effectiveness of the programme were seriously flawed in that, in the instance that control data in experiments was provided, there is no significant or credible evidence of gains or any sort success in literacy – a key area which the Dore Programme claimed to develop.

This example highlights the importance of scientific literacy. In this case, many people bought into a programme that was false and had no reliable evidence to suggest that the exercises had any legitimate effect. These people simply based their opinions upon what the media said about the Dore Programme and, as a consequence, were not delivered the results they were promised.

AC2 – Explanation of the concept of scientific literacy

Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities. In the National Science Education Standards, the content standards define scientific literacy.

Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.

Individuals will display their scientific literacy in different ways, such as appropriately using technical terms, or applying scientific concepts and processes. Individuals often will have differences in literacy in different domains, such as more understanding of life-science concepts and words, and less understanding of physical-science concepts and words.

Scientific literacy has different degrees and forms; it expands and deepens over a lifetime, not just during the years in school. But the attitudes and values established toward science in the early years will shape a person’s development of scientific literacy as an adult.

AC3 – Discussion of how teaching fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy

Teaching fair testing in school science links to scientific literacy as it allows the pupils to use their scientific knowledge and draw experience based conclusions. Conducting a fair test is one of the most important ways to ensure results of good, scientifically valuable experiments. It is important for an experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same.

According to the Curriculum for Excellence’s Principles and Practice, carrying out practical scientific investigations and experiments develops the child’s inquiry and investigative skills. This links to scientific literacy as it develops their knowledge and scientific understanding whilst they plan and design procedures and experiments.

Teaching fair testing in school science also teaches children to be scientifically literate as it allows the pupils to measure what they know already. Pupils must also consider all aspects of a fair test when designing their investigations. Pupils should be able to identify and analyse any possible reasons why an experiment could be considered not fair. Their scientific literacy is further developed as they review what has been learnt as they draw experience based on conclusions.

Giving and receiving feedback.

I really enjoyed giving and receiving feedback on the enquiring practitioner tutor directed task. Looking at other people’s thoughts helped me to develop an understanding of what it is to be an enquiring practitioner.

Receiving feedback on my post was something that I found really useful. I was interested to read the feedback I received to see what people thought of my post and to see what I had done well or what I could possibly improve on. It allowed me to look at my work more critically to see where I had gone wrong.

I really enjoyed giving feedback on my colleague’s posts because it gave me a chance to see other people’s viewpoints and see if we had different ideas or if we were similar in our thoughts. Giving feedback was something that I wasn’t used to doing, so at first I wasn’t sure what I should write on other people’s posts. But after looking at other people’s comments on post I began to understand what I should do. I enjoyed being able to tell people what they had done well. However, I did find it difficult to tell people how they could improve on their post.

What does being an enquiring practitioner mean?

From reading the general teaching for Scotland’s website, to me, an enquiring practitioner is someone who is looking to gain more knowledge and share it with others through collaborative working.  I believe enquiring practice is something that can be carried out as an individual or collaboratively.

Benefits of being an enquiring practitioner:

  • Allows teachers to look at how they teach more critically and challenges them to find ways in which they can improve.
  • When working collaboratively, a benefit is that each person can bring a different viewpoint to whatever is being discussed and can help you look at things in new ways.
  • Another benefit is that through being an enquiring practitioner you could help develop the curriculum with your peers.
  • Allows to teachers to question practices that they may not have questioned before.

Disadvantages of an enquiring practitioner: 

  • Stoll claimed that enquiry is “situationally unique” (2003) meaning that what works for one school, may not work in every school.
  • when working collaboratively, possible disadvantages include, disagreements, someone not contributing, differences in learning and teaching styles.

In conclusion, as student teachers, I believe that being an enquiring practitioner is going to be crucial for us in order to keep improving and learning. We must not just rely on our lectures for the information we need, we must seek it ourselves.

5 key attributes for a teacher to have


As part of an input on professionalism, we were asked to choose from a list of thirteen, five terms and think about their importance for a teacher.

The first attribute I chose to reflect on is respect. Within the classroom, respect is crucial for both the teacher and students. In my opinion, it is a two-way street and if teachers do not show respect to their pupils, how can they expect to be respected? Showing respect can help to form a more positive relationship with your pupils, which is crucial if they are to excel at school.  As a teacher, it is essential to acknowledge and respect the fact that every child is different.

Another vital attribute for a teacher is patience. Nowadays, the world is such a busy place and things are expected to be done straight away. The same should not be expected in a classroom. A good teacher will acknowledge that all children do not learn at the same speed, therefore patience is an important attribute for a teacher to possess. As a teacher, your patience is going to be tested on a day to day basis, from pupils talking during lessons or not doing as they’re told and if you do not have patience it could result in you taking out your anger on pupils and promoting a negative energy in the classroom.

Fairness is hugely important in the profession of teaching. Every child must be viewed equally. As a teacher, you cannot have favourites or even give the impression to your pupils that you have favourites. It can lead to tensions among the pupils and it can be detrimental to the morale of the class. Treat each pupil the same, never make a child feel like he or she isn’t important to you.

I believe self-control is a necessary attribute in being a teacher. As a teacher, you need to be in control of your emotions and it’s crucial you have the self- control to leave your problems outside the classroom. When you enter the classroom, your main priority is your pupils and you cannot let whatever other problems you have effect how you teach or treat your pupils.

I think that sometimes pupils forget that teachers are humans too, so I believe that it’s crucial to have compassion as a teacher. It shows the pupils that you can relate to them if they’re having a bad day and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to you if they feel they need to talk to someone.


Social Media – Friend or Foe?

What challenges do teachers face when attempting to marry the professional vs personal presence on social media?

Social media plays a huge role in modern day society. Everyone seems to be on some form of social media, be it Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. In terms of attempting to balance being professional but still having your own personal account on social media, I think it could be very difficult for a teacher. Social media has become so big these days that people are joining up to sites such as Facebook and Twitter at a younger age. This poses a risk to primary teachers because the pupils may be tempted to try and find you on such sites. I think, as a teacher, if you still have a personal account on Facebook you should change your name and make your account fully private.

Twitter is one of the social media sites where I believe you have to take the most care with what you post. I think a lot of people use Twitter in order to vent their frustrations and give opinions on their beliefs. If you post something inappropriate, it can be screenshotted by someone within seconds and it will remain on the internet forever, even if you delete it. I think the most important thing we must remember if we attempt to marry our professional and personal presence online is, to think before we post anything.


How do people view social media? How will I frame it?

In my opinion, I don’t think the older generations are as open to embracing social media, although there are plenty who do. I think there is a fear of it amongst older people because they are less open to people knowing a lot about their lives. Among younger people social media is viewed in a really positive way. Teenagers these days will check their social media every few minutes.  In terms of framing social media, I believe that it is an amazing thing if used properly. However it is important to be aware of the risks, one wrong move on social media and you can harm your career.

how did gender affect my time at primary school?

Although I personally never experienced any issues with gender during my days in primary school, it was definitely something that I noticed at lunch time when playing football with my friends in the playground.  Every day me and the “lads” would sprint out to play football at break time and get the teams sorted straight away to get the match going. Occasionally, a few of the girls would come over and ask to play and some of the louder boys would send them away with a “girls can’t play football!”. I remember it always shocked me when they said this, because I knew most of them were more talented footballers than many of the boys playing. Thinking back on it, I wish I had stood up for the girls and got them involved.

Hopefully now, after the success of the 2015 Woman’s Football World Cup in Canada, this stereotype will disappear from the playground.

why do I want to be a teacher?

When I look back on my life, it’s hard to pin-point a particular moment when I thought “I want to be a teacher.” As far as I can remember, teaching is what I have always wanted to do. Teaching is a profession that runs in my family. My parents and several relatives are teachers, while my sister is also studying to become a primary school teacher. School is an environment that I have always enjoyed and I always really liked my teachers. There was one teacher in particular who inspired me to want to become a teacher. He taught me in primary five and I still remember some of his classes because he had such an impact on me. I can say, without a doubt, that he is one of the main reasons that I wanted to become a teacher. My work experience in upper sixth in a primary school solidified the idea of becoming a teacher. I was only in the school for two days but I loved every second of it. I loved the idea that I could help the children learn new things and develop as people both socially and academically, for me, that’s the reason I want to be a teacher.

For me the teachers I have always liked the most are the ones who I feel comfortable in approaching. That is how I want to be seen, I want the children who I teach to be able to talk to me about anything without being afraid, even if it is just asking for help with a maths problem or talking about how their day is going. The most important thing for me is that children will not dread coming in to my class on a Monday morning. I want to become a teacher who makes learning fun, through interactive activities such as art, sport and music. If I can be that teacher after four years at university, then one day, hopefully I can be somebody’s favourite teacher.

Welcome to your WordPress eportfolio

Welcome to your eportfolio. This is where you will document and share your professional thoughts and experiences over the course of your study at the University of Dundee and beyond that when you begin teaching. You have the control over what you want to make public and what you would rather keep on a password protected page.

The eportfolio in the form of this WordPress blog allows you to pull in material from other digital sources:

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Teacher, Lorraine Lapthorne conducts her class in the Grade Two room at the Drouin State School, Drouin, Victoria

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