GIS – 03 March, 2020: There is no better consecration for those engaged in the teaching service than to establish a community of practice, of mutual support and of peer interaction. Thus, it is along these lines that a project for the setting up of an Academy of Teachers is in the pipeline. The Academy will be one that will facilitate peer-exchange and sharing of good practices.
The Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Education, Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, Mrs Leela Devi Dookun-Luchoomun, made this annocement, today, at the Rajiv Gandhi Science Centre (RGSC), in Bell Village. She was speaking at the launching of a series of workshops aimed at improving the pedagogical skills of Educators in the field of science and encouraging them adopt an inquiry-based approach while teaching science at primary and secondary school levels. On that occasion, the Rajiv Gandhi Memorial Lecture on the theme ‘Ethics in Science Education’ was delivered by Mr Michael J. Reiss, Professor of Science Education at UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
According to the VPM, we often gloss over the fact that Educators are active learners in their own right and that, in that capacity, they tend to question themselves, assess their own classroom work and delivery and engage in critical reflection in relation to their science teaching practice. Experience shows that, as teachers work in this inquiry-based way, their understanding about effective science pedagogy changes, she indicated. More specifically, it enables them to recognise how their thinking not only influences their professional practice but ultimately also shapes the quality of their students’ learning, she added.
The Minister also expressed the wish for Educators to become active advocates and champions for the cause of Science and Technology among both their peers and students. Indeed, she stated, Mauritius, while moving up the value chain in well-established sectors, is also tapping into new sectors such as biotechnology, blue economy, artificial intelligence, fintech, and blockchain. The predominance of science as a lever in these domains cannot be minimised, she emphasised.
The Memorial Lecture focused on how the aims of science education have broadened over the years. During the lecture, Professor Reiss also spoke about the objectives of teaching ethics in science classes which are to enhance students’ sensitivity, knowledge and judgement and make the learner a better person.
Speaking about how ethics is undertaken, Professor Reiss stated that one can be most confident about the validity of an ethical conclusion if three criteria are met. These according to him are: if the arguments that lead to the particular conclusion are reasoned with internal consistency; if the arguments are conducted within one or more well-established ethical frameworks; and, if there exists among relevantly interested parties a significant degree of consensus, arising from a process of genuine debate.
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