Mrs Kathryn Horan is a teacher and science leader at Greenhill Primary School in West Yorkshire. She was awarded the Primary Science Teacher of the Year by the Primary Science Teacher Trust (PSTT) in April 2017, and was conferred the title of National Expert STEM Teacher in April 2017. As part of the PSTT College of Fellows, she works closely with other innovative and outstanding science teachers to improve science education for all children.
Mrs Horan regularly delivers professional development (PD) programmes through the Association for Science Education, National STEM Centre, as well as the University of Leeds. Some of the PD sessions that she has planned and delivered focus on using stories as a vehicle to teach science, teaching science effectively in the early years, linking science and mathematics, teaching engineering in the primary classroom, and using effective talk in science lessons.
She also engages in up-to-date research on educational issues, and is a member of the Royal Society of Chemistry, as well as the British Science Association, the United Kingdom.
During Mrs Horan’s stint with AST, she conducted four Master Classes for over 250 primary science teachers. Her Master Classes focussed on the broad theme of ‘Enhancing Scientific Literacy in Young Learners’. Together with Mrs Horan, teachers looked at strategies to facilitate ‘science talk’ in the classroom, using stories to motivate and to engage students in meaningful scientific inquiry activities, and using drama for a range of teaching and learning purposes.
In addition, Mrs Horan visited four schools: Fairfield Methodist School (Primary), Qifa Primary School, Kong Hwa School, and Northland Primary School, where she observed how primary science was taught in the Singapore context. She was heartened to learn that our teachers and schools practised student-centricity, and focussed on the students’ needs when planning for, and facilitating, authentic learning of science. After observing our science teachers in action, Kathryn interacted with them to understand their concerns, and offered feedback on their lessons. She also had the opportunity to demonstrate how science talk activities could be carried out when she taught a class of primary three students.
Mrs Horan found Singapore teachers to be enthusiastic in the classrooms, possessing a positive attitude towards improving their own professional practice, and having the desire to do the very best for our students. Another area that impressed her was how our schools are well-designed to support authentic learning with their outdoor ‘science gardens’ and learning laboratories.
During her stint, Mrs Horan also participated in dialogue sessions with NIE, CPDD, science HODs and Teacher Leaders. The discussions were rich and covered topics such as STEM, PD for teachers, and assessment. On top of these, Mrs Horan was also involved in the primary science LT-ST networking session, where she shared techniques and games that support students’ learning.
Mrs Horan was very generous in sharing her resources and teaching strategies with our teachers during her three-week stint in Singapore. Our teachers and officers are truly appreciative that they have had the pleasure of interacting with her through this OEIR programme.