World-Class Maths and Science is born of the proposal for the creation of Learning Lab Denmark, where top international experience on teaching and learning methods can be developed, tested and applied to a joint project set up between Danish schools, commercial enterprises and various forms of knowledge environment.
It is a regrettable fact that far too many young people express little or no interest in mathematics and science. This has resulted in significant numbers of the adult population lacking basic literacy in mathematics, physics and chemistry, presumably due to a failure of current teaching methods. Enrollment procedures for entry into technical and scientific disciplines are inadequate, meaning that in future it will be extremely difficult to satisfy demand for employees with technical and scientific backgrounds.
The objective of World-Class Maths and Science is to:
increase interest in mathematics and science
focus on mathematical and scientific literacy
encourage young people to enter technical or scientific courses of higher education
The project intends to establish a network of schools in the Copenhagen region, forming the basis for cooperation between didactic researchers and practitioners in schools. Universities, institutions and commercial enterprises can be connected to the network via active involvement in particular research and development projects.
Objectives and resources
The project intends to identify new concepts in education and greater flexibility in teaching methods aimed at improving general education standards so all students are capable of understanding and participating in mathematics and science subjects at a higher proficiency level than before. The teaching methods applied must at the same time give particularly interested and talented students the opportunity of further improvement within the mathematics and science field.
The project will focus primarily on the development of teaching technique. This predisposes that circumstances are as normal as possible and means, for example, that no restructuring of teaching time or subject content is planned, but rather an improvement in economic resources and organizational flexibility of classes. This does not mean subject content is without interest. On the contrary, interest in cohesion and progression in teaching curricula concerning mathematics and science in the joint educational system is to a high degree a requirement.
The project committee has identified the following research and development fields:
Increased emphasis on motivating teaching
New teaching methods
Revised thinking on practical assignments
Application of ICT with special emphasis on mathematics and science subjects
Cohesion and progression in teaching, in particular the transition from Grade school to High school and from High school to further education
Application of alternative learning environments via cooperation with business enterprises, educational institutions, etc.
Initial target areas
The initial project comprises 15-20 schools in the Copenhagen region, and action will focus on three areas:
High level mathematics, physics and chemistry
The transition from Grade school to High school
Mathematics, science and technology subjects in Grade school
It is intended that within each target area a specific number of High schools and/or Grade schools will participate in the project.
The plan is for classes or groups involved in the project to take part in trials in both mathematics and science subjects (which at different class levels are termed science and technology, physics/chemistry, physics and chemistry, respectively). The project as such will attain a higher profile and a synergy effect may be generated.
Research expertise will be assigned to sub-projects for each target area for development, completion and evaluation.
Teachers participating in the project will receive training through the provision of courses, seminars and conferences.