Supporting the Next Generation of Geology Teachers
By Annette Thomas
Once again this year PESGB funded a place on the Geoscience Education Summer School. Led by Professor Chris King, this intensive week long residential course at Keele University includes a mixture of classroom, fieldwork and lab sessions. Sponsored bursaries provide all the costs of the GESS and to be economically viable the course requires 10 places to be funded.
Participants are existing, or newly qualified science or geography teachers with geoscience in their degrees but no training to teach geology. The Summer School is currently the only way individuals can gain an accredited module and training to become geology teachers.
Feedback captured how effective the course had been in helping participants to develop both their knowledge and practical skills. The full evaluation report has been sent to PESGB but a selection of comments include:
- “This course has cemented my knowledge”
- “I feel much more equipped to synthesis ideas and apply them to the classroom”
- “This course has massively developed my confidence and made me aware of what I need to improve and prepare to deliver geology”
- “The most worthwhile cpd I’ve ever done”
- “Keep doing what you’re doing. Great course – varied and appropriate for a range of levels and interests”
One participant from Scotland, who previously worked as a geoscientist in the oil and gas industry commented:
“I had just completed my Initial Teacher Training (PGDE) in Geography at Strathclyde University, and was eager to enrol in GESS and continue learning how to perfect my new craft”.
He explained that in Scotland the Higher Geology examination had been lost as part of the Curriculum for Excellence changes and that the geography courses contain very little geoscience so he wanted to cover them well.
“Through the expertise of the many fascinating speakers, past and present GCSE & A-Level Geology teachers, and from the other colleagues on the course, I gathered an excellent array of teaching methods, tasks, and activities. These new skills and teaching techniques have allowed me to propagate all parts of the geography curriculum with aspects of geoscience.
GESS has also given me the determination to pursue teaching A-Level Geology in a Scottish State School, which is currently only on offer in a handful of Scottish Schools.”
Having enthusiastic and confident teachers of geology will have a significant effect on the talent pipeline of geoscientists. This is important across a spectrum of industries but is critical across the lifecycle of oil and gas E&P.