PESGB April 2006
President’s Page- Chris Flavell
As I write this, Spring appears to be on the way at last, and the impending extra hour in the evening makes you believe that Summer is just around the corner. That’s bound to make it snow!!!
I’ll use the editorial page this month to update members on some PESGB funds disbursement that we have recently agreed. In last year’s August/September Newsletter, Jim discussed the
activities of SCID (Sub-Committee for Investment and Disbursement) in relation to a donation that we made to the Museum of Jurassic Marine Life in Kimmeridge. SCID is striving to disseminate
funds over a wide range of activities and topics, the above being a good example of funds supporting museums. Similarly, we have in recent years provided significant funding to support the MSc teaching universities, helping to fund additional places and facilities on these courses.
We have recently been in discussions with a group called ESTA (Earth Science Teachers Association). ESTA is an organisation striving to ensure that high quality teaching standards are achieved in earth science related topics in schools across the country, spanning primary education through to A- level. Whilst earth science issues form integral parts of several school subjects, especially geography, the vast majority of teachers have no formal training in earth sciences. Even in primary schools, project work on topics such as volcanoes and earthquakes is common. By their own admission, many of ESTA’s traditional teaching resources no longer match the requirements of the ever-changing National Curriculum.
So what is ESTA’s plan? The general idea is to generate a web-based resource that is easily accessible, downloadable and keyed directly into the school curriculum at various levels. Focussing initially on the A-level syllabuses, ESTA has created a resource called GEOTREX (GEOlogy Teachers’ Resource Exchange), containing high quality technical teaching material across a wide spectrum of geo-topics, including sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic rocks, plate tectonics, structure, fossils, fieldwork etc etc. Following several discussions between PESGB and ESTA, we have agreed to make an initial financial contribution of £5000, plus support for the annual ESTA Conference, due in September this year. We are sure that improving teaching resources at grass-roots level will have the beneficial effects of increasing interest in the subject, creating more awareness of undergraduate opportunities, and ultimately result in more earth science related graduates leaving university.
In my last note, I expressed mild surprise at the England rugby team ‘s fine start to the 6-Nations ……. kiss of death , having been given an object lesson from those Scots in doing the simple things correctly. At least it now makes for an open, exciting conclusion to the championship. Listening to the news whilst driving into work this morning, I was intrigued to hear that several Indian commentators are blaming the poor weather, currently disrupting the 2nd Test, on the presence of the English in their country. Apparently, we take it with us!!!!! Isn’t that where I started???