Job Specification

Position Title:
Science Educator, Seasonal
Job Code:
14024 - Biologist 2B
Job ID:

Purpose of Position :

To research, develop, and teach educational programs and workshops to booked client groups including students (primary through to senior levels), teachers, and the general public at the Ontario Science Centre or at other locations as directed.

To provide support and training to other educators and science presenters in the successful and consistent delivery of these programs.

Duties / Responsibilities :

(Note: priority is on program delivery which is based on customer demand)

Under the direction of the Manager of School Programs, this position:

1. Teaches educational programs by:
- adapting teaching strategies and presentation style in response to group and based on Manager's instructions, evaluation forms, or previous experiences (e.g., adapt language level, activity type, instructional approach for students with special needs, English language learners, etc.);
- troubleshooting during school program delivery and staff training, and if unable to resolve problem(s), referring to the Resource Officer, Lead Science Educator for that program and/or Manager of School Programs;
- presenting educational programs to teachers and other educators, relating to teaching strategies and presentation techniques.

2. Researches and develops curriculum related educational programs for school groups, including students and teachers; provides operational leadership and trains staff by:
- consulting with teachers, scientists, and other resource staff, both inside and outside the Centre, as well as using other resources to research and develop educational programs on, and not limited to, science/technology topics linked to Ontario elementary and secondary school curricula;
- taking a leadership role with training and overseeing the operational aspects of Science Education offerings; maintaining current knowledge of developments in formal and informal education and science in terms of teaching strategies, presentation techniques, science curricula, new discoveries by reading, courses, etc.; ongoing researching of material in order to update, improve, and change program content and direction in keeping with the Ontario school curricula;
- researching, collecting, and assembling equipment and aides (audio, visual, tactile) to be used in programs;
- ordering and/or purchasing and maintaining program materials (e.g., plants, chemicals for the DNA program, etc.);
- preparing training materials, including guidelines for programs, recommended reading;
- training part-time and full-time staff on the delivery of educational programs;
- reviewing and revising programs regularly and ensuring staff are advised of any problems/changes in equipment and/or program content;
- researching for additional background information/examples to develop a comfort level with topics covered in educational programs;
- collecting, assembling, operating, cleaning, and minor repair of laboratory equipment/ apparatus (lasers, pouring/peeling acrylamide gels, using micro-pipettes, thermal cyclers, electron microscope, microscopes and computer controlled models) and aides (audio, visual, tactile) used in programs.

3. Participates in other educational activities as required, such as:
- writing, editing, and producing support materials for teachers (e.g., teachers' guides, exhibit question sheets, school kits, etc.);
- collaborating in the development of new programs, exhibits, and events by participating as a member of project teams;
- presenting educational and special activities and demonstrations including, and not limited to, March Break, weekend and evening programs, Sleepovers, Summer Camps, holiday programs, as required;
- assisting school bookings staff with program scheduling, questions, and any associated issues;
- communicating with teachers via email and phone to discuss their inquiries and needs related to educational programs, disseminating requests, and referring if necessary.

4. Performs other related duties by:
- researching and sharing teaching and demonstration strategies and techniques, on or off-site;
- conducting special programs for teachers for professional development purposes;
- participating in off-site education conferences (e.g., STAO) and promotional events;
- assisting with weekend and weekday facility rentals with the presentation of a program or activity as required;
- assisting in the organization of events (e.g., science fairs, conferences), held at the Science Centre.

Staffing and Licensing :

Possible weekend and evening work.

Knowledge :

Extensive knowledge of science normally acquired through a science degree from a university of recognized standing, to assess the scientific integrity of information sources, and to interpret/evaluate the scientific validity of information to be used by the Centre. Pedagogical skills normally acquired through a recognized teaching certificate and several years of experience teaching science.

Knowledge of informal education sector, science communication skills, current scientific developments in environmental sciences and technologically related fields for ongoing program development and renewal.

Knowledge of science and technology concepts, principles, practices, and current research developments and trends as related to existing formal and informal educational programs and workshops developed by Science Educators.

Knowledge of scientific methods, techniques, related scientific/lab equipment and apparatus used in programs to demonstrate specific scientific and technological concepts including health and safety requirements, and knowledge of how to troubleshoot routine technical difficulties encountered during programs.

Familiarity with informal learning methodologies and the knowledge and skills to develop and deliver educational programming within these frameworks. Also required is familiarity with the Ontario curricula for grades K-12 to develop educational programs that compliment curricula. Position requires knowledge of the educational program offerings at the Centre and links to school curricula to answer questions from teachers.

Position requires knowledge of presentation principles and techniques to deliver engaging, exciting, dramatic, and interactive presentations, demonstrations, and activities which effectively interests and educates school groups of different ages and needs.

Position requires knowledge of presentation software such as PowerPoint, web-based research techniques and administrative software including Microsoft Office, File Maker Pro (bookings software), Outlook email sufficient to word process scripts, read schedules, and communicate with colleagues.

Skills :

Demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills as they relate to the interpretation of complex scientific and technical information into easily understood program ideas and applications. Interpersonal skills are required to work co-operatively in a team and/or project oriented settings. Professionalism in relating to diverse audiences (i.e., teachers, students, other program participants, etc.) and levels of understanding of science and technology.

Adaptability in order to function in a variety of presentation areas (e.g., laboratory, auditorium, exhibit halls with audiences of various sizes, ages, interests and academic backgrounds. Office computer skills (hardware and software) are required to prepare reports, memoranda, and e-mail.

Flexibility in order to function well in frequently changing scheduling and workload situations (e.g., program cancellations and/or substitutions). Creativity, initiative with well developed research and writing skills. Good planning, organization, coordination, and team work skills.

Position requires excellent communication and presentation skills including skills to adapt program content, language level, style, and pace to meet diverse audiences' needs so that information is understandable, relevant and accessible (e.g., groups of different sizes, ages, genders, cultures, interests, academic backgrounds, and special needs) and to suit various spaces where programs are held (e.g., auditorium, studios, laboratories, exhibit halls).

Position requires interpersonal, problem solving, and technical troubleshooting skills to respond immediately to questions and other unexpected situations arising during programs (e.g., special needs, equipment malfunction, behavioural problems). Organization skills are required to ensure program materials are on hand, equipment set up and tested before program begins.

Freedom of Action :

Position works under the general direction of the Manager, School Programs within relevant OSC/Branch policies and visitor service standards. The position teaches and develops programs, workshops, etc., and freedom exists to vary the content, style, language level, and pace to meet audiences' diverse needs.

Freedom also exists to take immediate action to deal with unforeseen problems during programs (e.g., troubleshooting technical/mechanical equipment malfunctions, calling on Protective Services to handle injuries, involving the classroom teacher, etc.), referring unresolved problems and complaints to Resources Officer, Lead Educator, and/or Manager. Programs are reviewed for overall effectiveness, quality, and customer satisfaction.

Position participates as directed in updating and/or developing program components and/or related materials for curriculum linked school and other informal science education programs.

Judgement is exercised in evaluating the relevance of the scientific/technological/curriculum content for programs and for making decisions about the appropriateness of the proposed information, in the process of researching material. Participates in the evaluation of programs and giving feedback to presenters and other educators.

Participates in the development of programs with a view to scientific and technical merits, feasibility, costs, and manufacturability. Judgement is exercised in assisting to determine the most cost/time efficient way(s) of solving communication and technical problems during the development of programs.

This position is accountable for synthesising accurate, up-to-date, and easily understood scientific/technological information for the communication of complex concepts through the effective use of educational programs, toward the development of new and the renewal of existing programs; with other Educators and the Manager ensuring the correct interpretation of information as part of the Science Education team.

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