Teacher Tip Series: Science with Debora Louw

20/02/20245 minute read
Teacher Tip Series: Science with Debora Louw

"This blog series offers a window into the experiences and insights of Crimson Global Academy's esteemed educators, providing valuable advice for students across different levels, debunking common subject misconceptions, and suggesting effective study strategies."

Meet Debora Louw, CGA’s dedicated teacher specialising in KS 3 Science and IG/AS Biology. With a robust background spanning 16 years in the International Biology Curriculum, Debora brings a wealth of experience and insight to her students. Her expertise is further recognised through her roles as an Assessor for both Pearson and Cambridge examination boards. Debora's passion for Biology and Science is at the heart of her teaching philosophy; she aims to ignite a similar fervor for these subjects within her students.

Q & A with Ms Louw

What inspired you to become a teacher in this subject area?

My interest in Microbiology and Genetics led me to a MSc in Molecular Microbiology, and although my aim at varsity was to find a cure for HIV my love for teaching took me on a different road. Teaching genes in my family and no” mutation or natural selection” could get rid of those genes. I love what I do!

As an expert in Science, what key advice would you give to students to excel in this subject?

In IG and AS Biology you must know your subject content in depth. If you can explain the work to someone else and they can understand, you know your work. The understanding of Command words in the questions will guide you in how to construct your answer. If you don't know your command words you are going to lose marks. Analysis of the Questions is crucial.

Make sure you can identify the specification being tested in the question, then first write some key words you know support the specification and then construct your answer. Specifications are key in your summaries, it forms the foundation to ensure you study the exact content and the level of understanding that is needed.

For KS 3 Science, ask questions, think out of the box, make sure you understand the specifications expected. Watch Videos on the topics discussed to get an even broader view of the topic. Do all your homework.

What are some common misconceptions or challenges that students face in, and how can they overcome them?

They think they can get away with just studying the content to remember for one day but with application questions you need an in depth understanding of the content. You must therefore prepare in advance and apply reflective learning and revisiting work throughout the course so that the content becomes part of your general knowledge then you will be able to do the application questions. You must also integrate and link content and none of the topics is stand alone. Everything is linked and you must be able to see that and recognise the integration to other content done in different topic

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What study strategies do you recommend for students to retain and apply knowledge effectively?

Go through your work that was covered in the day, even just reading it will help. Then summarize with the specification as the heading of the content. Work though topic questions as much as you can. And never study work only once, always revisit work and build those layers in your brain. Construct model answers from the memo to act as a safety net in exam.

Are there any specific resources or tools that you find particularly helpful for students studying Science and Biology?

Specifications, Past papers and the memo. The memos guide you in the layout of questions, depth of knowledge needed.

How can students develop a passion for Science and stay motivated throughout their academic journey?

Be passionate, stay on top of the latest research and share with students. Discuss work that is relevant in their daily lives. Make the subject “living”

How can parents support their children's learning in Science outside of the classroom?

Ask about their work, be interested, ask more if a topic that interests you be sure to never put too much pressure on the student. Support by understanding if they bring back a bad mark and ask how they can help and support not judge.