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Genomics education landscape

Genomics Education landscape
two learners working with a 3D DNA model in a class
© Wellcome Connecting Science

As we have discussed so far, genomics education is a developing field, catching up with the rapid scientific and technological developments that have been achieved in recent decades.

It intersects with several challenges in science education with which stakeholders are concerned. These include representation of contemporary science, education about socio-scientific issues, dual-audience notions of science for all and more science for some, achieving changes in practice, and securing adequate learning outcomes.

A recent report by the University of York Science Education Group outlines the results of a landscape review of research and resource provision in the field of genomics education in schools. Several recommendations have been made for a range of education stakeholders including the Science education research community, educators, and curriculum developers identifying where further research is needed and actions can be taken to improve genomics education and teaching resources.

Some of the key recommendations are summarised below:

1.Have a collective agreement with regards to the nature and purpose of genomics education

Stake holders should make efforts to achieve greater clarity about the purposes of genomics education (individually and collectively), aiming if possible to confirm the necessary and sufficient knowledge, understanding and skills that are required to meet participatory citizenship goals; and to agree what specific additional content is needed for the sub-set of young citizens who will go on to become scientists;

As part of the above, seek to establish and articulate a shared understanding amongst stakeholders of what genomics is taken to encompass, in relation to different groups of school-age learners and in terms of content and perspective.

2.Consider the progression of student learning in relation to pre- and pro-genomics education

Review the research evidence base regarding naïve concepts about genetics and inheritance, with the aim of assessing their impact on genomics learning and thereby considering actions that need to be taken.

Consider how to ensure that pre-genomics learning in primary and lower secondary schools is “pro-genomic”, through curriculum and resource development and through teacher professional development for the enhancement of pedagogical content knowledge.

3.Provide pedagogical support for genomics and pre-genomics education

Facilitate access to teaching resources that are evidence-informed, congruent with curriculum and assessment models, and that meet teachers’ perceived needs;

Facilitate access to professional development that supports teacher acquisition and application of subject knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge for genomics education, including approaches to teaching about socio-scientific issues.

4.Development of specialist resource provision for genomics and pre-genomics education

Work with science education researchers to develop and trial new resources for genomics education to support teaching of the recommended learning progressions.

Work to make existing resources more useful and diverse in type, for example by adding questions to ‘Explain’ resources to facilitate the collection of evidence of learning, and by clearly labelling the resource with information about the target age range and date of last update.

Consider the publication of a catalogue of available resources for genomics education, alongside an analysis, in a form that may help teachers to locate resources to fulfil particular classroom needs.

Discussion point: Of these recommendations which are you most interested in?

© Wellcome Connecting Science
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