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Is the ASE in trouble?

Discussion in 'Science' started by sciencenoob, Jan 19, 2011.

  1. I heard from a friend that the ASE is making most of its field officers redundant.

    Does this mean that the ASE is to become even more of a talking shop with very little action? At the moment I get a journal that I don't read, a magazine with the odd good idea in and access to about three courses a year at a special price.

    My membership is due in a few months and I'm seriously considering what I get in return and if it's work renewing. How do others feel about the ASE?
  2. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    Hi Sciencenoob!
    I joined ASE when I was on my PGCE, back in 1997 and stayed a member right the way until last year. I got to the point where the journals seemed out of touch - lots of academic University studies by people who got out of teaching years ago, but think they can tell real teachers how to teach. I felt it was a waste of money, and when I realised how much I was paying, I didn't bother to renew.
    I think the ASE probably is in trouble - they aren't meeting the needs of real teachers, so they must be losing members rapidly. I'd happily rejoin if they could show me that they has something to offer me and my department, but until then.....nope!
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Like wise I joined during my PGCE at an introductory rate but a few years into my career and the price had gone up enormously and what you got for the money was of little use. so I stopped my membership.
  4. Same here, A couple of years ago when I was trying to save some cash, ASE membership was the first thing to go.
  5. <font size="2">I have been a member of ASE since my PGCE, 40 years ago. To start with it was an occasional evening meeting but I soon found it the most valuable resource and a group of like minded people who wanted to improve science education. I don&rsquo;t read the entire journal, but then I buy the Sunday Times and I don&rsquo;t read all of that either.</font>ASE has less meetings than it used to because fewer people want to come to them, however, it still has a voice and represents science education better than any other subject association represents its teachers. I have never regretted my membership but I have joined in and been to meetings and conferences whenever possible. As a consequence I have felt well informed and brought back many useful pieces of information to my school often enabling us to be well prepared for coming change.
  6. marshypops

    marshypops New commenter

    I find the SEP much more useful for giving me new ideas and ways to teach science.
  7. MarkS

    MarkS New commenter

    That sounds good notsoyoung, but I've never heard of any ASE meetings or events local to my area. It still feels like a shame to have stopped my membership after 12 years but it really doesn't feel like they have much to offer me.
  8. At a time in the 80s/90s the ASE produced a respected, learned journal for science education but now....?[​IMG]

  9. Isn't it worth being a member for the &pound;5m public liability insurance? I think so.
    Maybe the articles don't tickle your fancy- so why not write something interesting yourself and submit it?
    I feel being a member is right for me, but I do agree that when I try and get enough people at my school to join at the group membership rate I find it difficult to convince them that they are getting value for money.
    Many things covered by the ASE are also covered by CLEAPSS eg safety, induction, technician conditions, training and CPD etc. Union membership probably as useful for liability claims too.

  10. Before you do anything rash like resigning please do log on to the ASE website and search for your area. www.ase.org.uk The new website has much more information and there are various events listed for each area eg in London this Thursday 10th Feb is the launch of Cafe ASE at Watersones in Malet street London where Paul Black will be a giving a talk entitled " How should we assess Science in schools?". This is amongst 10 events currently listed on the London page.
    LIke many organisations the ASE needs to get feedback about what people want to see happening and people who actively support what goes on. We do also need to maintain a level of staffing ie field officers which we can only do if we maintain members.
    I would be happy to hear any comments on what people are interested in doing through the ASE perhaps through this forum or through the ase website forum
  11. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I am mildly irritated . I have just been sent a nice little memory stick full of white board activities for teachers. This is being sent to all schools. This is good, but....
    Did I get one because I'm a member? no
    Will members who are not heads of department get one? no
    Do I get the biology and physics activities? only if my busy colleagues have time to share them.
    What's the point of paying my (moderately expensive) membership fees if the potentially best things get sent out to heads of department but not members?
    Now I'll have to see if I can get access to the biology and physics resources (if there are any).
  12. Mathsteach2

    Mathsteach2 Established commenter

    Thank you for bringing this thread to our attention, fiendishlyclever, this is certainly news to me!

    I am now retired, but I keep up my membership from 1966, throughout my 40-year career. I displayed my students' work in the Members' Exhibition at the ASE Annual Conference several times, and have contributed to SSR over the years. A few years ago I asked ASE if they had considered having a forum on the website, but at the time they said they had trouble with abuse. A bit like Opinion here in TES, I guess!

    However, on the new site there is now a forum, for members only.

    Many of the posts above in this thread remind me of my attitude to teachers' unions. I never joined one, taking out my own liability insurance. It did not make sense for me to join something in which I would take no part. If I complained about them the union reps would say do not just join, but join AND participate. As a member of a rugby club, I was always happy to pay my subs, because I played rugby.

    To those posters above who seem to be complaining, I suggest to you to get stuck in and play your part as an active member, in this way you will become fully professional. I wonder somteimes then when I read so much about the science curriculum being dumbed down it seems that it is the professionalism of teaching that is being dumbed down, by those who do not join and participate in their professional organisation.

    By instituting the CSciTeach qualification, we are now on a par with chartered accountants, surveyors, architects etc.

    ALL science teachers should now feel very pleased that their subject at least is getting the recognition all teachers should be getting.
  13. I just think that the ASE doesn't come across as being joined up or having a direction. It may represent members, but what about helping real science departments? As a head of science I have had exactly no circulars from the ASE; the membership is unbelievably expensive for a science faculty; until recently I had no idea field officers existed, and I still don't know what they do; and it is not obvious how to get involved.

    At the moment government advice is being scaled back. Far from teachers wanting space to "teach", we want advice and ideas and there is a gulf. It is obvious by the number of people who ask where the QCA schemes can be found. Pearson education et al are going to be running the curriculum in this country and I am massively concerned that the ASE is going to sit by and let that happen. Moreover no one is going to raise the discussion about science education pedagogy - how we get students through topics and how we encourage them to be independent Learners.

    There is a lot of uncertainty in science education at the moment and an awful lot of discontent with the curriculum. How is core science supposed to work with minimum practical opportunities? Should we be using APP, if so how? What is meant by how science works and how is it different from sc1? How should triple science fit into the curriculum? Should we be delivering a two year key stage 3? What is the impact of the EBacc? How will the late publication of the gcse specs affect the delivery from September Etc etc. I am now going to check the ASE website for press releases related to any of these topics.
  14. To be fair, if you look a bit they do have the official responses to most reviews and the White paper, as you might expect. The website is poor! Like an exam board's.

  15. I would spend time after school practising the ideas in the Notes and from that, getting new ideas. These notes are now a sad reflection of what they used to be. Try looking at a SSR of the 1970s or 80s to see what happened then. I was also allowed by my school to attend evening ASE seminars (having to miss a lesson!) and I went on Saturday events in my own time. These still exist in several Regions. Just as teachers complain that students like to be spoon-fed, the same applies to teachers. Now many published courses come with practicals attached (and often quite poor ones as well). It removes much of the creative aspect of teaching and thus spontaneity is lost. I know I have to read on comment on them and I am appalled at some of the efforts.
    To be fair, there are now other outlets now for ideas such as teacher websites but you have to hunt for these. Popping an idea on the web will be quick for you but to have it peer-reviewed and then published might take longer but it is a better for it and in the end more satisfying to the user and the author. All the ideas that appear on this website should be published, not on the web, but in the SSR. Some ideas in the teacher/TES websites are not strictly accurate! Take care.
    So, to get the best out of the ASE, teachers have to pay the money and then contribute. It is the same with any hobby group, sports club, choir or association you join. The open letter from Rob Butler should be sent to the ASE for publishing in the Education in Science. It raises many interesting points that need to be addressed but ultimately, the solution will come from its members taking a more active part. Sideshow, your concerns need to be sent to ASE and published as well. I agree with many of your comments. Trying to run an organisation when information is so vast is very difficult. The more information there is the less direct communication it seems!

  16. OK for teachers, but nothing for technicians, unfortunately.
  17. BRAVO TecHKnow!
  18. I've recently moved from mainstream to Special - but am still teaching Science. The ASE sadly no longer offers me anything of use. My request to have my magazine changed from the secondary one to the primary one (I felt it would be more relevant now) has been ignored. The most recent posting of 'Education in Science' arrived in the same sleeve as the regional newsletter. EVERYTHING on that was being advertised on that newsletter had already happened. How are people supposed to go to events if they don't know they are on? I occasionally get emails - why not email the regional newsletter when it is written so that the news in it is current?
    I've been rather disappointed with the ASE over the last couple of years, and am also seriously considering stopping my membership, sadly
  19. sciencebabe

    sciencebabe New commenter

    I agree with sideshow - the educational landscape is changing very fast and I fear we have lost most of the assistance to help us improve the teaching and learning.
    I started teaching pre KS3 strategy etc so the ASE was one of the only sources of information for me to improve my own practice. The QCA schemes, national strategies etc then replaced the ASE as my source of info as did the science consultants. However we are now on our own again and I also am concerned that private companies like Pearson etc will dictate educational policy. I am especially concerned that we are going to have business / companies that will be dictating as they do in Universities (how many universities actually do research which is not funded by pharmaceutical companies etc).
    It is vitally important that organisations like ASE listen to and represent our views to the relevant government bodies - we have very few voices - RSC etc all have their own agenda...
    Rant rant - marking coursework does put me in a bad mood.....and don't even get me started on academies.......

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