The provision of a good quality science education should arguably be at the top of every government’s agenda; the world needs enthusiastic and qualified engineers, doctors and researchers to ensure that the scientific innovation of the last century continues. The Association for Science Education (ASE) and its president Professor Danielle George believe just that; we need future generations to develop products we don’t even know we want yet! With that in mind, the ASE provides resources for science educators in the United Kingdom, helping teachers continue their professional development.
At over a hundred years old, the Association for Science Education (ASE) has become the largest association of its kind in the United Kingdom. An active professional learning community established in 1900, the association is able to help those involved or interested in science education from pre-school right the way through to higher education. Made up of a support network of educators of all kinds (including teachers, technicians, tutors and advisors), the ASE has managed to have a positive impact on science education right up to the present day.
Led by president Danielle George, who is also Professor in Microwave Communication Engineering and the Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning in the Faculty of Science and Engineering at The University of Manchester), the ASE provides unique benefits for its members including awards, conferences and regional events, ‘TeachMeets’, a social media community and forum for discussion and debate, journals aimed at professional development, publications and other free learning resources. In this latest interview, Research Features caught up with Professor George to find out what her role in the association is, how she manages her professional commitments and also what the future holds for the organisation.
Hi Danielle! Can you tell us more about the Association for Science Education (ASE) in terms of its background, history and core mission?
The ASE is the largest subject association in the United Kingdom that has been supporting everyone involved in science education from pre-school to higher education for over a hundred years. The first annual meeting of members was held in 1901. Members include teachers, technicians, tutors and advisors. It is a registered charity with a Royal Charter as of October 2004. His Royal Highness Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh is the charity’s Patron. It is owned by its members and is independent of government, and thus can act as a powerful voice and advocate for science education.
What are your core responsibilities as President of the ASE? As well as being the President for the ASE, you undertake many other roles – How do you manage to balance and juggle these different responsibilities?
My core responsibility is to lead the strategic direction of the association. There are several strategies I employ to be able to manage my time effectively. I have a good support network of family and friends who support me and help with child care, as well as a team of staff that I can delegate tasks to. By prioritising my time, considering the impact of everything I am offered, the time it will take to do and the people it will reach, I know when sometimes saying ‘No thank you’ is best. I regularly review what I am doing and whether I want to adjust anything, or am happy with where I am. I try to balance the time I am working and playing, ensuring I switch off from work and have time to enjoy the rest of life, escaping from city life sometimes and putting my family, particularly my daughter, first. It really does feel like a juggling act sometimes!
As an Association, you are committed to providing valuable resources for teachers and technicians. Your main resource site is www.schoolscience.co.uk, where you provide links to free learning resources – What impact has this site and these free learning resources had?
The website provides easily accessible resources for teachers and students around the world free of charge. It is sponsored by a wide range of industrial and research partners including publisher Collins, Tata Steel Europe and London Zoo.
The Annual Conference attracts over 3000 delegates and includes 350+ talks and workshops ranging from academic lectures and exhibitions to a social programme and themed days – What is involved in the event?
The Annual Conference involves science educators from across the United Kingdom and beyond sharing good practice, research and practical ideas for the classroom. Held every January at a university in the United Kingdom, the conference hosts workshops covering all phases of education (age 0 to 19 years) and professionals at all stages of their careers including new teachers, headteachers and education researchers.
ASE is involved with many awards including: Chartered Science Teacher (CSciTeach), Registered Scientist and Registered Science Technician – What do these awards consist of and why is recognising excellence in science teaching and learning so important?
The awards raise the profile of science teaching and learning. The Chartered Science Teacher is a special section of the Science Council’s register of Chartered Scientists (CSci) which underpins the quality and equivalence of the awards. CSciTeach applicants must be active in science teaching and learning in the United Kingdom or overseas. This includes teachers in all state and independent schools, colleges and universities, as well as advisers, inspectors, consultants and researchers. The Registered Scientist Award is for teachers with a science degree, qualified teacher status and at least two year’s teaching experience. Registered Science Technician Award (RSciTech) is a registered mark recognising excellence for technicians working in science education.
Recognising excellence in science teaching and learning is important because it motivates staff and highlights their achievements, ensuring the quality of science education for the future generation, enabling greater numbers to become scientists and engineers.
The ASE journals are a free benefit of membership and are written by some of the most exciting and experienced science educators in the United Kingdom and beyond – How successful are these journals?
The ASE journals are successful in sharing ideas and views and updating readers on what is happening in science teaching and new developments in classroom practice. They also give a voice to less experienced writers in the sector, who can air their opinions and queries. The journals include the titles ASE International Journal, Education in Science, Journal of Emergent Science, Primary Science, School Science Review and Science Teacher Education.
The ASE is a specialist publisher for the science education market. This includes approximately 200 titles ranging from primary to secondary and post-16 science education publications – Which area is the most successful for ASE?
Bestsellers in our publication list include electricity and magnetism, life on earth, brilliant women, primary mathematics and teaching secondary biology, chemistry and physics.
What does the future hold for ASE?
I hope that ASE will be an association that further develops and involves more science educators, enabling them to share good practice and allowing the future generation of scientists and engineers to invent things we do not yet even know we need!
If you would like to find out more about ASE, you can visit the website here: www.ase.org.uk/content/about-us
The Association for Science Education,