March 02, 2018

Introducing the blog

Welcome to our new project blog.

This project is rooted in the significant under-achievement in STEM subjects across the world. A significant contribution to this underachievement is due to communication gaps between STEM specialists and STEM learners and resultant affective barriers developing (Msimanga & Erduran, 2017; Lee & Johnston-Wilder, 2013).

We propose an intervention based on 5 new tools for teachers and learners. Three of these tools are being used already in the UK and one in South Africa: the growth zone model (Lugalia et al., 2013), the relaxation response (Benson, 2000), explore-options-actions (Egan 2013), the 4 styles of classroom communication grid (Scott and Mortimer, 2003). The fifth is rooted in our work and built on Bruner's work and his "ladder of accessibility" (enactive-iconic-symbolic), so well-known in "Singapore maths" (Bruner 1966).

We build on the idea of academic safeguarding and preventing exclusion from STEM subjects (Findon & Johnston-Wilder, 2017); Sue Johnston-Wilder, with Clare Lee, has developed the Growth Zone Model and related strategies to address anxiety and other affective barriers to learning STEM subjects; Audrey Msimanga has developed a resonant framework for addressing communication barriers to learning STEM subjects.

The use of the tools will be evaluated in Gauteng province, South Africa, in 3 districts.


- 2 comments by 1 or more people

  1. Janet Baker

    It will be very exciting to see the impact of these tools in South Africa, and how they compliment each other. For example, the relaxation response can be used when the learner is in the red zone of the growth zone model. The growth zone can be used as a tool to help the learner engage effectively with explore-options-actions. Will there be any other synergies?

    26 Apr 2018, 11:59

  2. Brighton

    I do agree with you Janet that surely it will be exciting to see the five tools in action and I believe the project will be a success. The fruitful implementation of the five working tools will surely alleviate the stigma and anxiety for both teachers and learners on STEM subjects. The SA team lead by Dr Msimanga is geared up and holds regular meetings in preparation for the take-off of the project. The sting in STEM subjects has met its match.

    27 Apr 2018, 06:38


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