Engaging science teachers with research and open schooling

The second ENGAGE project conference coordinated by Dr. Ale Okada, at the Open University on March 23rd of 2019, presented evidence that the project is sustainable. Some of the key topics discussed by Science teachers were practices and strategies developed to address the key issues raised by the ENGAGE community in the previous conference:

  • What are the benefits and challenges of using engaging science to foster open schooling?   
  • How can  science curriculum be more inclusive and unbiased about gender?
  • How can the Science Education curriculum be reshaped so that it’s more fit for purpose?
  • How can an approach focussed on examination success still lead to an enlightened science education?



This annual event brought together more than 50 Science teachers from The UK, Brazil, Luxembourg and Australia. Eight themes were chosen by the teachers themselves, who presented their research informed practices related to science curriculum, assessment and teaching methods. There was a diversity of science teachers’ presentations about various topics:   

  • working scientifically;
  • engaging girls with science
  • helping students to become independent learners; 
  • linking KS3 with KS4; 
  • implementing diagnostic assessment and feedback;  
  • promoting contextualised and active learning;
  • building resilience to make science relevant for students; and
  • using mastery science to help lower achievers, manage modules and promote effective teacher CPD

Engage conference is thoughtful and engaging. I have been there twice now in 2017 and 2019. It is great opportunity to meet science teachers who are interested in sharing informed practices and learning from each other”. Science Teacher

I found this conference very helpful and well-organised. Science teachers who presented and participated in the debate provided a varied range of views and practices, which stimulated valuable and lively discussion. Head of Science   

“I noticed an impressive quality of practices shared by teachers in their presentations with problems and research-based solutions that they used in the classroom” Gemma Young, ENGAGE facilitator.

The keynotes Tony Sherborne, the scientific leader and coordinator of ENGAGE  and Julian Clarke, the Head of Curriculum at AQA presented new questions and reflections on Science Education:  How do research-based practices help teachers shape science curriculum to become more valuable for students’ lives?  And What does practical assessment in the exam look like?

The 5-year plan workshop on teaching and assessment was also very informative, and create an open space for teachers to share their questions and challenges they face in the classroom. As it was highlighted in the previous conference, “there was too much content to teach across the 5 years so teachers should focus on teaching the core well” …; so that evidence-based practices become very relevant for all of us.

 “It was a very productive Saturday for the ENGAGE COMMUNITY. All Science teachers attended the conference with enthusiasm. They shared research-based practices, useful questions, ideas and strategies which helped the community the renew and rethink about how to innovate Science education in the UK.”  Jude Sanders.