Nerida came across this interesting article on storytelling and how it can keep students engaged in science.

Professor Stephen Ritchie from Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Education is leading a team examining how emotional learning through storytelling and other strategies can enhance scientific literacy.  There is a declining interest in senior secondary science courses, and this is having a flow-on effect to universities, contributing to skills shortages and a lack of understanding about science issues in society.  Professor Ritchie says:

“What we know is while Australian students do fairly well in most measures of scientific literacy on international tests, they become disengaged as the curriculum becomes more formal….Students lose interest in science in years 8, 9 and 10. That has a flow-on effect to their subject choices in year 11 and 12 and career choices for university.”

Through this work Ritchie says that what they hope to do is to:

“… provide the students with opportunities to engage emotionally in science activities.  One way we can do this is getting students to write ‘hybridised stories’ where technical, scientific information is merged with everyday language on topics relevant to them.”

This hybridised approach is one that we use all the time at the ARRC, as we find it is the best way to bring ‘facts and figures’ to life, and for the science we have on river restoration to be made relevant and interesting to people.  What we really like about Ritchie’s approach is that he is thinking about the future, as he says:

“If you really want kids to become scientifically literate and engaged meaningfully in community decisions and intelligent debate as adults, we need to teach them how to access reputable information and apply it.”

These children are our future and we wholeheartedly endorse the thinking and intent behind this project.

To find out more about this work follow this link

Nerida and Siwan