The third workshop of the series was positioned at the end of the academic year and provided a key opportunity for teachers to plan for the upcoming year. The project team designed this workshop to respond to the specific needs of teachers identified through interviews with teachers of each school.
The workshop began with reflections from teacher colleagues in the group who had the opportunity to trial run some collaborative argumentation activities in their schools since the last workshop. This was intended to provide space for teachers to think about what opportunities might be possible next year, but also to ask questions of their colleagues about the challenges experienced in implementing these new collaborative approaches.
The project team feed back to the group the emerging salient responses from the teacher interviews as a way of facilitating group thought and reflection, particularly in terms of coming to generate a collective goal. This also situated the current professional development within the context of responding to teachers needs.
One such response to emerging needs was to recognise that RE teachers felt quite comfortable with the pedagogy of argumentation while science teachers felt they needed more support in terms for seeing opportunity for argumentation in the science classroom. A portion of the workshop was therefore devoted to exploring this. The project team feed in some generated activities across a range of curricular topics. These were used to discuss within groups of Science and RE teachers. Science teachers could consider for themselves, how they might include or adapt these activities. RE teachers acted as critical friends in this process, while also learning more about how scientific argumentation features and operates.
Finally, with these concrete examples from both teacher colleagues and the project team, the teachers from each school were asked to construct a plan for their teaching argumentation and collaborative work for next year. These were submitted by the teachers at the end of the workshop.
We wish all our participating teachers very well deserved relaxing summer break and look forward to resuming our work together in the new academic year.