Communicating Scientifically

Jim Sturgiss
Aligning practice for better outcomes.
Communicating Scientifically - its more than just the words. Learn how science-specific critical literacy is an analytical tool that will empower your students.
Target Audience
NSW Science teachers 7-12
7 reviews

Learning Areas

Teaching Standards

General Description

Literacy once meant reading and writing words on paper. Today’s science students need to do more than accept information at face value, they need to be able to understand, use and critically analyse texts validity and underpinning points of view. In many ways the NSW HSC challenges students' understanding of the use of models in science and the contestability of science knowledge. Communicating Scientifically skills will empower students provide appropriate responses to HSC questions. Ultimately critical literacy will inform their daily lives.


NSW Science teachers 7-12

Available Delivery Formats

Format Description

COVID-19 Event Information

All TTA venues continue to work with advice provided by the NSW Health Department in managing the risks associated with the current COVID-19 situation. While the current risk is low, TTA venues will be taking steps to help provide a safe environment for our courses. There will be increased cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, and venues will be providing ample hand sanitiser pumps. While venues will be taking all the care that they can, we also stress the need for course participants to take responsibility for their own wellbeing and the wellbeing of those around them. If you are not feeling well or showing symptoms of COVID-19, please don’t attend this event. Wash your hands regularly. Avoid shaking hands where possible. Practice cough etiquette, coughing into a tissue or your elbow and washing your hands afterwards. Thank you for your understanding.

The course is conducted through a moodle where resources are located and linked. Participants post products of their learning on forums to share with other participants.

Teaching Standards
2.5.2 Proficient Level – Literacy and numeracy strategies
2.6.2 Proficient Level – Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
6.2.2 Proficient Level – Engage in professional learning and improve practice

Are you in NSW? If so, this is relevant for you

Completing this course will contribute 5 hours of NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered PD addressing 2.5.2, 2.6.2 & 6.2.2 from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Teacher Accreditation in NSW.

TTA (Teacher Training Australia) is endorsed to provide the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) Registered Professional Development for teachers accredited at Proficient and Lead Level Teacher.

This course contributes to 5.0 professional development hours.


There are no occurrences of 1. Face to Face in Australia (NSW - Accredited) at this time.


Language and knowledge in Science

1 hour and 30 minutes

1. Initial reflection of participant understanding of subject specific literacy (moodle forum)
2. Presentation – What is Critical Literacy in Science?
3. Exercise – Critical literacy analysis of a web article about climate change (moodle forum)

Genres of Secondary Science

2 hours

Presentation – Describing and explaining
Quiz – The use of conjunctions in scientific explanations (moodle)
Presentation – Instructing, arguing and narrating in science
Structure of a response – exercise - animoto response to HSC questions in Biology
Exercise – nominalisation
Exercise – modality of probability or certainty

Analysis of the HSC

1 hour and 30 minutes

What are the literacy demands of the NSW HSC?
Exercise – key verbs and their meaning (moodle)
Exercise – Literacy analysis of a HSC Science paper (moodle discussion forum)

What To Bring


User Rating


Latest Reviews

Please note the feedback listed here is unfiltered, and includes all comments and ratings collected.

Communicating Scientifically
by michelle winata on 26/04/2019

The content was very applicable to how we need to teach content and made me evaluate how I get students to develop skills.

Communicating Scientifically
by Cindy Tang on 26/04/2019

Enjoyed the use of the online websites for communication and accessibility. Would prefer more samples of Q1/responses and scaffolded resources. Enjoyed the discussions.

Communicating Scientifically
by Sarah Simpson on 26/04/2019

Very useful analysis of key syllabus terminology. Good to discuss with fellow teachers.

Communicating Scientifically

Relevant and useful.

Communicating Scientifically

Didn’t stick to timetable, so a lot of context was omitted due to time constraints. Context covered was very good. Having a small group of participants was very good.

Communicating Scientifically

Good resources for future use and strategies to use in the classroom including animoto and ideas with edge and use of conjunctions.

Communicating Scientifically
by Maher Khalil on 23/03/2016

Good strategies for *the effective usage of verbs and trying to avoid the pitfalls in these verbs. *Use of questions to stimulate discussions of science concepts or phenomenon. *Making proper distinctions between verbs such as describe, explore, etc. *Use of persuasive texts in Science.

About the team

Jim Sturgiss


Improving outcomes through aligned teaching practice synergies.

Jim is an educational researcher and independent educational consultant. A recipient of the NSW PTC Distinguished Service Award for leadership in delivering targeted professional learning to teachers, he works with schools to align assessment, reporting and learning practice. He has been a DoE Senior Assessment Advisor where he developed many statewide assessments, (ESSA, SNAP, ELLA, BST) and as Coordinator: Analytics where he developed reports to schools for statewide assessments and NAPLAN.

Selected NSW Department of Education and Communities appointments
2015                            Analytics, Systems and Development Coordinator 
2012 – 2013                School Assessment Design and Development Acting Coordinator (ESSA)
2007 – 2010                Head Teacher Science, Newtown High School of Performing Arts
2004 – 2005                Senior Assessment Officer, Computer Skills Assessment (CSA6)
2004                            Test Development Officer, Secondary Numeracy Assessment Program (SNAP)
2000 – 2004                Head Teacher Science, Concord High School 
1998 – 2000                Senior Assessment Officer, English Language and Literacy Assessment (ELLA)

Teaching Qualifications
1993 – 1997                M.Ed. (Hons) University of New England (Thesis: Literacy & learning in Science) 
1979                            Dip. Ed. University of Wollongong
1976 – 1978                B.Sc. University of Wollongong (Majors in Chemistry and Bioenergetics)