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Teachers partly to blame for decline in Stem subjects, research claims

Discussion in 'Education news' started by TES_Rosaline, Feb 5, 2016.

  1. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I feel it's not worth commenting on such rubbish.

    It doesn't need it.
  3. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    AT Kearney can go stuff themselves.
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    So what we should be doing is push kids onto courses that they won't be able to cope with. As for the jobs. British industry has been in decline for decades where are all these stem jobs?
  5. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    The article doesn't give a link to the original article so I have given one below:

    The main problem it talks about is one that has afflicted STEM as long as I have been a teacher, "too hard and not relevant".

    As a Physics teacher I have always had to cope with the problem that Physics A-level produces a grade average of 1.5 grade less than some other subjects. Also Physics has always been a service subject with a wide (but invisible) application.

    The other problem is that beliefs both of students and parents about STEM have been resistant to advice from other quarters.

    The advice for teachers "you can do it" seems fairly inadequate.

    I also note at the bottom of the TES webpage containing the article is another article saying that students are taking You-Tube advice over teachers advice.

    So why blame the teachers yet again?

    cissy3 and drek like this.
  6. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Why would I, 26 years in the classroom after a much shorter career in the aerospace industry be in a position to advise students on careers?
    When I mention physics to my upper sets I tell them that most graduate physicists do not end up working in science. Many are hoovered up by law firms looking for people with big brains.
    I'm a chemist. Brought up on wet analysis. Nowadays chemical analysis is pouring the sample into one end of the machine and reading the results on a screen. Grunt work, the firm only needs one qualified chemist to interpret the results.
    les25paul likes this.
  7. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    A lot of the bright students realise that they can earn a great deal more money if they went into a host of other careers (law, accountancy, business management, banking or even being a plumber) then they would in a science career.

    I wish I did then (clearly not as bright :( )
    drek likes this.
  8. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    A consensus of opinion already - teachers are not going to take the criticism
    75% of children leave primary school interested in science and the interest declines significantly in secondary school. Even allowing for this decline if all these secondary students decided to do A level then there would not be an issue. They are acting on several areas of advice, like teachers, parents, career advisers (maybe), friends, relatives and universities. By the time this filtering effect takes place you probably lost another 50%.
    The next issue is the selection process, schools will use to do the A level. The absolute minimum most schools will allow is a C grade in the subject studied. The school want to see success at the end of 2 years (not always the case). This filters off another lot of students.

    You cannot 'blag' your way through STEM subjects, you have to understand it to do well and often those students on C grades drop the sciences after a term because they cannot cope.
    If you want more people in the sciences you need a lower route but there needs to be employment and academic routes available to progress.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I suspect the difficulty of science GCSE papers contributes to the lack of uptake. 51% could get you a grade A a couple of years ago - but even though they got a 'good' grade, they knew they had done badly in the exam. In addition, 49% in an A level exam gets you a glorious grade E. Hero to almost zero in a couple of months but (more or less) the same performance.
    Furthermore it's going to be even more rigorous for the current year 12.
    yodaami2 likes this.
  10. itgeek

    itgeek New commenter

    Soe of us can remember the days in the 70's when sciences and technologies were pushed in schools and colleges( in particular) ,if they could not get an apprenticeship at16 the kids went for jobs just to be told you've got no experience. Graduates were treated like they knew nothng by the old "Time served" staff who were scared witlesss about losing there jobs and then in 79 Thatcher arrived and closed most of it all down. Students and families decide what is right for them now.
  11. armandine2

    armandine2 Established commenter

  12. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Those countries with a higher STEM intake, start teaching science properly right from primary, similar to those countries where students are multilingual. In other words they use specialist subject teachers, resources and techniques, right from the word go.
    Here they have a bit of a jack of all trades approach, which may be why students lose interest at secondary.
    Their teachers have to bridge a huge gap in basic skills, at the same time as they have to deliver the content of whatever the current curriculum dictates.
    Then you may have some schools who believe that the way to go is to run year 7 as some sort of 'fun' project 'bridging' year, making custard and jelly models of everything, (no science specialist teachers required), where once again the students lose out to schools who start the curriculum in year 7.
    The specialist 'teachers' have very little say in how their subject should be taught.
    There is no discussion. Only a performance managed order to do as we say (but not as we do), by line managers.
    So don't go blaming the teachers for the mess you leave us to both clear up and do the time for!
    cissy3 likes this.
  13. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Back in the 'old days' there were thousands of STEM jobs available. Many of these would be taken up by 16 year old school leavers with their O levels (I was one). Some would be apprenticeships (I wasn't one of those). However employers were legally obliged to provide training for all their under 21 year old employees and so the technical colleges were full of day release students like me doing relevant STEM courses such as ONC/OND HNC/HND and even degree courses. My first technical college (Matthew Boulton in Birmingham) had 18,000 students of which only a few hundred were full time. Everyone else was part time/day release. Even the Police sent their cadets there! Matthew Boulton (Now called Birmingham Metropolitan) now is a 'University'! It still has post 16 students but as far as I can tell they are all full time. My second college was Birmingham Polytechnic (Now Birmingham City University) which in the 70s had massive science departments including a whole building devoted to nuclear physics. Now the 'University' has no science departments whatsoever apart form a bit of 'eco'stuff.
    cissy3 likes this.
  14. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    However I was browsing through the new science AQA GCSE course that my school is planning to use in September (I won't be there) and they are making a whole raft of practicals compulsory. There was some really good stuff in there including some pracs I can't remember seeing since I did O level at school. It even made biology look interesting! I half joked that I might stay on to teach this stuff. If done properly with a good KS3 introduction course with lots of practical work this might just ignite a spark in a few more students. Not sure how it will suit lower ability kids mind but the pracs will keep them busy.
    cissy3 likes this.
  15. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I expect much school science will go the way of woodwork.
    cissy3 likes this.
  16. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    Don't you mean 'resistant materials'?
    cissy3 likes this.
  17. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    Pathetic if true. Who comes up with these things? Besides, what material has the quality of 'resistance'? Unobtainium?
    cissy3 likes this.
  18. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I came out of the same mould Blazer (PGCE eventually), maybe we could be asked back in a training mode and show the new teachers those practicals I used to do with Nuffield chemistry. The practical part has always been the best part of science and most students like the experience. With 75% of primary school kids being interested in science maybe this move might keep the interest in pursuing STEM subject in the future but your previous post is valid - there needs to be employment opportunities.
    cissy3 likes this.
  19. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    One of my earliest stem jobs was a lab tech in a teacher training college in the mid 70s. I recall the Nuffield science 5 to 13 course that was very popular at that time. Some excellent science but taught in a type of blue Peter 'here's one I made earlier ' style. How I wished I could have got my hands on a set of those books over the years.
  20. applecrumblebumble

    applecrumblebumble Lead commenter

    I just thrown away (charity shop) the green (chemistry) and red physics books and student book for A level. If you look on awesomebooks.co.uk and worldofbooks.co.uk then stock lots of old books.

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