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Primary Education News
News Game-based learning, science equipment shortfall and more
Our weekly round up of the latest research papers, methods and ideas related to teaching and learning
Pupils missing out on practical science
New evidence has shown that many pupils are not able to get a hands-on experience of science in practical sessions, due to a lack of basic resources such as microscopes.
Two reports, one for primary and one for secondary were published this week detailing the shortfall in provision by the Science Community Representing Education (Score) – a collaboration between some of the UK's leading science organisations, including the Royal Society of Chemistry, Institute of Physics and Royal Society.
These reports show that, on average, state secondary schools have just 70% of the equipment the institutions have identified as being essential to teach practical science.
The situation is worse in primary schools where teachers have only 46% of the materials needed to lead a practical science session with their pupils. In secondary schools the research found there was also a lack of support from qualified technicians.
In state secondary schools the reported spend in 2011/12 varied from 75p per student up to £31.25, while in independent schools funding varied from £7.18 up to £83.21. In primary schools the amount spent varied from just 4p per student up to £19.08. The report also states that in state secondary schools 28% of the budget was spent on photocopying.
Bullied children use wrong form of humour
Children who use self-defeating forms of humour on the playground are more likely to be bullied by their classmates.
A new study examined the links between how 11 to 13 year-olds use different styles of humour and bullying in schools. The findings revealed that children who put themselves down to make other people laugh are more likely to be bullied than those who use positive forms of humour.
The two year study, by academics at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Strathclyde, also found that the negative use of humour is a nurtured behaviour which is influenced by the child's social environment rather than genetics. The researchers said, this means the behaviour can be easily changed and they will be moving on to look at whether it is possible to teach children how to use humour to enhance their resilience and encourage them not to use negative forms of humour.
Researchers measured three types of bullying: verbal, physical and the type of bullying that includes social exclusion and the spreading of nasty rumours. Some 1,234 pupils were asked to use self-reports and peer nominations to draw their conclusions. Each child was assessed in relation to their number of friends, humour styles, symptoms of depression, loneliness and self-esteem.
Games-based learning review
The impact of games-based learning is a much debated topic in education circles so a team at the National Foundation for Education Research (Nfer) has taken a look at what the evidence says about game-based learning and its potential impact on teaching and learning.
The team's report focused on a range of sources, including empirical, practice-based evidence and more speculative literature, published from 2006 onward and found the studies consistently found that video games can impact positively on problem solving skills, motivation and engagement. However, researchers found it was unclear whether this impact could be sustained over time.
The report also offered advice for teachers about how to integrate gaming into their teaching by using it within a clear pedagogic process and also by making the academic content integral to the game rather than as an add-on. There was also recommendations for senior leaders who are keen to support the use of game-based learning in their schools.