School pupils get a taste of university life

Issued: Fri, 28 Apr 2017 11:58:00 BST

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In a unique partnership with the University of Glasgow, Kelvinside Academy’s Junior School have been taking part in a project with Dr Niamh Stack that develops research skills and provides an opportunity for independent study.

Pupils were challenged to design their own projects, create research questions and conduct their own analysis in a project aimed to develop creativity, critical thinking, numeracy, literacy, communication skills and analytical capability.

The pupils were taught about the nature of research, ethics and framing of research questions, and with the support of Psychology student Bethan Howells, they were then guided through best practice in data collection and analysis.

Pupils reported on their findings at a morning conference at the University of Glasgow after being tasked to strip out any bias from their research, analyse their results and communicate their findings in a way that engages their audience. 

Dr Stack said, “We know that independence, autonomy and the ability to control learning experiences can be powerful in inspiring motivation and academic engagement, but the Junior 6 pupils have exceeded all expectations in this project”

“They have independently chosen topics like the effects of testing on pupils, social media use among young people, Brexit, that are currently taxing Educationalists, Psychologists and Governments and said we want to contribute our voices to these discussions which is extremely impressive”,

“It has been quite inspiring to follow their progress through the process and witness first-hand how engaged, motivated and thoughtful they are – they have asked some really hard questions about the research process!  I think we are often guilty of under estimating young people and what they can achieve if given the right opportunities and appropriate challenges.”

Junior six pupil Louise Kemp added: “We were working by ourselves on our projects which was challenging, but if you were organised you found that it was much easier and we did have plenty of help from our teachers and the University staff.”

As well as conducting their own research, the children are also the subject of Bethan Howell’s research project; “Exploring children’s perceptions of the learning and motivational benefits associated with undertaking their own research”.