Educational OutcomesWe obviously want good things and positive outcomes for our children and presumably we believe that home education is a way to optimise this process. But can we prioritise? Here is an exercise. Look at the alphabetised list of words below and sort them for how important they are to you as educational outcomes for your children. Subsidiary exercise: do this blind with your partner and see how well your aspirations match. Or again, write your own list and date it and look at it in a year's time - will it have changed?
Brave -*- Compassionate -*- Confident -*- Co-operative -*- Famous -*- Generous -*- Happy -*-Honest -*- Independent -*- Kind -*- Punctual -*- Rich -*- Successful
I was thinking about this on the last day of Science Week at The Institute. It has been a great success for me because at least once every day, I've had an encounter with teenagers which gives me hope for the Future of Ireland as a Technological Nation. There was Gabriela, part of whose self-image was Woman of Science although, as yet, she knew little. Her classmates were being constructively noisy around her. I wrote to their teacher: "Science is not about the stuff you know, it's an approach to working out how thing tick. They were pushing the frontiers of acoustics working out how to optimise the signal-to-noise ratio for reflected sound. Of course, they wouldn't have used that sort of language but that was in effect what they were doing. You can find out what "The Answer" is by looking it up but if you Do it, the information will stick." What do I wish for young scientists? Consistency -*- Cooperation -*- Perseverance -*- Self-confidence.
- Could she ask me a question?
- She could
- Did I know what was a UV-vis Spectrophotometer?
- I did. I also knew that I was the least appropriate person in our Science Department to ask for help. But I have allowed students to learn how to use such an instrument while I got out of their way - the best way to teach anyone anything.
- Did I know what was the minimum amount of water necessary to make measurements with a UV-Spectrophotometer?
- I didn't but we could find out, and whisked the girl to one of the labs upstairs where I showed her the UV-spec, and gave her a plastic disposable "cuvette" for receiving and processing samples. I gave her my e-mail address: by the time she contacted me I would have found the most appropriate person to supervise her BT Young Scientist project about heavy metals and water quality.
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