The first workshop focused on exploring similarities and differences between higher-order thinking skills/argumentation in science and RE.
The workshop began with an introduction to the project team and the overall aims, objectives, and timeline of the project.
Teachers then brainstormed what they understood argumentation to mean within their own subject areas and their own practice. We discussed together the emerging differences and similarities about how science and RE teachers think about argumentation.
This was followed by an activity where teachers, working in science and RE pairs, examined curriculum documents of the ‘other’ subject. Teachers identified areas of the curriculum that called for or provided opportunity for argumentation. This was particularly useful for teachers to explore possibilities within their own subject, to learn about the ‘other’ subject, and to think in pairs about differences and similarities between the subjects.
Teachers explored and critiqued a range of activities provided by the project team. These activities were selected from science and RE teaching materials that the project team thought addressed elements of argumentation. Teachers thought about the ways these activities might foster argumentation, if they resemble anything from their current practice, and if they could suggest any improvements to these activities.
A plenary discussion was held to begin to think through the similarities and differences in argumentation between the two subject areas.
Between this workshop and the next, teachers were asked to consider 2 activities from their own subject areas that they feel addressed argumentation. The pair could then revisit and consider the question “What are the similarities and differences between the conceptions of argumentation between RE and Science?”