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    The Teaching, Learning and Creativity (TLC) model for science

    Kenneth Rotheram

    ABSTRACT The Teaching, Learning and Creativity (TLC) model suggests a wide variety of activities in three different phases. In the Teaching Phase, the teacher will discuss, demonstrate key experiments and provide data for pupils to interpret. In the Learning Phase, pupils will analyse text, do a simple test and write an essay. In the Creativity Phase, pupils will plan their own experiments, carry them out and report. Pupils are also expected to write creatively. Interested readers are now invited to do action research to test this model.

    I recently read about the success of Finland and Singapore in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests and wondered about their curriculum. A search on the internet revealed that the high scores were due to raising the attainment of all abilities and not just the most able. The reasons for PISA success in various countries are summarised in Figure 1.

    Projects are an important factor in pupils success in Finland as they develop reading

    and writing skills. In Singapore, the teaching is traditional and most parents supplement their childrens education by paying for after-school private revision classes. A pupil may spend 13 hours a day in study and also work at weekends. The Singapore government, although proud of its achievement, is now worried that its students lack creativity. I decided to design a model with activities that promote pupil learning and creativity and also implement the objectives of both the English National Curriculum and examination boards.

    Figure 1 Essential requirements for pupil learning

    Figure 1. (124x75mm)

    Pupil learning!

    Effective discipline in

    school!

    High teacher expectations!

    Good pupil motivation!

    Skilled reading for

    understanding! Working on projects and

    revision strategies!

    Problem solving!

    Strong parental support!

    http://www.oecd.org/pisa/http://www.oecd.org/pisa/http://www.oecd.org/pisa/http://www.oecd.org/pisa/

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    The TLC model

    The Teaching, Learning and Creativity (TLC) model involves a Teaching Phase, a Learning Phase and a Creativity Phase. Summary details are shown in Figure 2.

    Discussion

    The components of the model are all well-known and tested techniques, which Wellington and Ireson (2012) discuss fully. I imagine all teachers will have used these techniques at various times. There will also be a mixture of active and passive activities for the pupil, involving listening, reading and writing, and planning and performing experiments. The strategies involved are shown in Figure 3.

    The Teaching PhaseThe model advocates basic observations, setting a question and the evolution of the design of a controlled experiment using a suitable means of measurement. The teacher could show one or more full experiments. Alternatively, only the start of the experiment could be shown, followed by a discussion on how measurements can be

    made. The teacher appropriately introduces the worksheets with laboratory data, challenging pupils to reach their own conclusions. The teacher will discuss the evidence, suggest explanations, emphasise major concepts and summarise the topic with what, where, when, how and why questions. The pupil will now have knowledge and understanding and sufficient experience to allow the planning of one or more variations of an experiment in the Creativity Phase.

    The next part of the Teaching Phase involves the distribution of Topic Notes on paper for each pupil to read. These should be written by the teacher with the reading age of the pupil in mind. The English Department should supply this information and it will also help the teacher to support the weakest readers. Providing written Topic Notes also means that copying from the whiteboard is now not necessary. The time saved here can be used in later phases.

    The Learning PhaseThe pupil will now be expected to analyse the Topic Notes for key words, definitions and major ideas

    The Teaching, Learning and Creativity (TLC) model for science Rotheram

    Figure 2 The Teaching, Learning and Creativity Phases

    Creativity Phase

    Learning Phase

    Teaching Phase

    l The teacher is to involve the pupils in observations, measurement techniques and the methodology of key experiments which provide evidence for the topic.

    l Short practical demonstrations are used to illustrate methodology.l The teacher is to use evidence (appropriate experimental data on worksheets)

    to challenge pupils to reach conclusions.l The teacher is to discuss and summarise the topic and provide Topic Notes for

    use in the Learning Phase.

    l Pupils are to analyse the Topic Notes and show the key words, definitions and major ideas using three coloured highlighting pens (a DART technique).

    l Pupils are to match key words to definitions, under test conditions.l Pupils are to construct a mind map and then write a short essay under test

    conditions.l Pupils are to answer a small number of structured questions on problem

    solving.

    l Teacher and pupils are to plan a new experiment using the equipment and measuring methods already introduced in the Teaching Phase.

    l Pupils are to carry out the experiment and provide a written and oral report.l Pupils are to read and analyse the Creativity Notes provided by the teacher. A

    short summary essay and presentation completes the activity.l Pupils are to complete one or more of the Creativity Tasks provided by the

    teacher.

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    or concepts. This revision activity with coloured pens is an important active process, which led me to develop my ability to pick out the important information in text. It also gave me the confidence to read and understand complex scientific papers at university. The activity of underlining text is now called a DART (directed activity related to text) and is believed to help children to read for meaning.

    PISA in Focus no. 30 (OECD, 2013) indicates that pupils in the best-performing countries often summarise information. PISA research indicates that the UK has average reading performance and below average use of effective strategies. PISA states that using strategies may raise performance by 20%. Revision strategies such as mind maps, summary essays and answering problem-solving questions in the TLC model may help too.

    The next step involves the matching of key words and definitions under test conditions. This is followed by a writing exercise involving an essay, to detect how well learning has been achieved. I suggest a short essay rather than a multiple-choice test because an essay immediately shows the pupils knowledge and understanding. Writing frequent essays also improves scientific literacy.

    Writing essays is a high-level skill and the pupils should be introduced to the idea of a mind map with questions such as What, Where, When, How and Why. This format will focus the essay

    construction and then ensure the inclusion of the appropriate key words.

    Essay marking need not be considered an onerous task and in fact the comments added to the essay should promote better learning, especially if the pupil is expected to improve it for homework. The average and less able pupil may struggle with this activity and high expectations and support will be needed in the classroom. If reading levels can be improved through such practice then pupils will be better prepared to read and understand examination questions. Examination papers should then be full of answers rather than being left mainly blank.

    Another activity involves working through a small number of structured questions on problem solving. These could be written by the teacher or taken from suitable past examination questions. PISA sample questions are available online (see Websites) and they are of interest because they usually involve a considerable amount of reading and questions are often presented in novel situations. Another PISA emphasis is the fair test and the controlled experiment.

    The Creativity PhaseThe pupil will look again at the apparatus and measuring instruments used in the Teaching Phase and then plan an experiment. The teacher will be there to guide and give support in the planning of a new experiment, and many will probably

    Figure 3 Strategies within the TLC model

    Rotheram The Teaching, Learning and Creativity (TLC) model for science

    http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/pisainfocus/pisa in focus n30 (eng)--Final.pdfhttp://pisa-sq.acer.edu.au/

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    ask a new question such as What is the effect of X on Y? Pupils will then be responsible for writing down the plan and considering safety aspects before seeking permission to proceed from the teacher. After carrying out the experiment, the pupil will be expected to write a report with Aim, Method, Results and Conclusions sections. Some pupils enjoy making an oral report and five minutes seems a sensible use of time per person for this activity. It may be that there is only sufficient time for a few to report for each topic.

    The next part of the Creativity Phase involves a mini-project (creative writing). This could be on topics such as famous scientists, genetic diseases, global warming, nuclear power and genetically modified crops. Pupils are to read some Creativity Notes written by the teacher (these should have a very basic sentence structure, so that average and less able pupils can read them effectively). These are to include text with illustrations such as photos, data and graphs. This is preferable