Supporting the teaching of Science in times of remote learning: Highlighting the importance of Laboratory Technicians
With the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, the education landscape has become a vastly different space in a staggeringly short amount of time. The roles of all those working in schools have changed, as members of school communities work together to adapt to changing circumstances as they adopt new platforms, methodologies and pedagogies for the delivery of curriculum. As a practical subject, the remote teaching and learning of Science presents unique challenges, most of which are self-evident.
The following is taken from a recent media release of the Australian Science Teachers’ Association on COVID-19, in which ASTA President, Nathan Curnow states: ‘Whilst we celebrate how adaptable and resourceful science teachers can be, it is important to note that these changes have significant ramifications for teacher workload and efficacy as they do their best to support the learning of students’.
STAV Council endorses this statement and furthermore, unreservedly acknowledges the integral and specialist role that laboratory technicians play in enabling effective teaching and learning of the Sciences across all year levels.
STAV’s Mission and goals provide focus at this time:
- STAV represents and advances the collective voice of science educators to shape and influence policy in all aspects of science education.
- STAV aims to build the capacity of laboratory technicians, teachers, science coordinators, principals and system leaders, as agents for the improvement of all aspects of science teaching and learning.
- STAV advocates for and contributes to the improvement of the quality of science teaching andlearning through enhanced professional learning, resources and the promotion of professional best practice.
STAV encourages all members of school science departments to continue to work collaboratively and with agility at this at time. STAV acknowledges that the most visible aspects of the day-to-day role of laboratory technicians is being challenged. In spite of the changes to physical learning spaces, STAV strongly maintains that laboratory technicians are an integral part of the science program. The need for their expertise and support is all the more profound, and with the assistance of technology, the opportunities for innovation abound.
Laboratory technicians in schools are working to different guides in the support of remote learning. They are gathering, preparing and curating resources for science departments; preparing, conducting and recording demonstrations and experiments to be used by students remotely; collecting data via controlled experiments for analysis by students in assessment tasks; maintaining equipment, updating inventories, reforecasting budgets, conducting OH&S audits and maintaining and preparing risk assessment registers.
Laboratory technicians, given the nature of the role, are specialist, resourceful and adaptable. With the extra burden placed on teachers at this time, their support and drive are even more critical to attaining good learning outcomes for our science students. STAV urges schools to continue to foster the time-honoured collaboration and synergy between school Science teachers and laboratory technicians, so that we can better respond to the challenges before us as we navigate these complex times together.
Chair, Laboratory Technicians sub-committee