Exemplary Teaching in Science?

Many people have heard of “exemplary teaching” but what does it really mean and how does one achieve it?

These 4 points were made clear in a paper by Fraser and Tobin in 1990 are still accurate today.

Top tips to be an exemplary science teacher:

  • Move around
    • Teaching isn’t always just the teacher standing at the front of the room with a PowerPoint next to them, there are so many ways to move around and change up the ‘standard’ classroom, such as going outside to teach, move the students around and have them work in groups, or even work with a business to give a real-life connection to what’s going on in the classroom.
  • Encourage questions that you don’t know the answer to
    • Many teachers see themselves and are seen by their students to be an expert on their topic. In reality, teachers should be learning along with the students. If a student asks a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t just shove it off to the side and say you’ll get back to it, explore it! Figure out the answer with the students, do research, experiments, have them make a claim, provide evidence, and give their reasoning.
  • Connect to other ideas
    • According to Rober John Meehan, “the most valuable resource that all educators have is each other. Without collaboration, our growth is limited to our own perspectives.” Not only should teachers draw connections between topics in their specialty, but also make cross-curricular connections that can help students relate what they’re learning to other topics.
Some things to remember about being an exemplary teacher

Exemplary teachers focus on their students. As you can see with this video, student learning is put at the forefront of the class by having them figure out what’s going on rather than them just being told by looking at pictures. I think a key point in this video is that over-structuring a lesson is dangerous. The students should guide it with the teacher as a facilitator. One quote that stood out to me was “I know I have [the students] when they start asking questions that I was hoping they would ask,” because it really emphasizes the student-centered idea of inquiry and exemplary teaching.


  1. Hey Evan! Great blog post! I really liked how you used an actual research article to discuss the effects of exemplary teaching on students. We often talk about what we think is the best thing for students, but it’s good to incorporate scientific data on what we can prove is good for students. I was wondering, do you have some specific ideas on how you can implement some of these exemplary teaching strategies in your future classroom?

  2. Hi Evan,
    I liked how you summarized your ideas on exemplary teaching. The tip you gave that I found most interesting was “connecting to other ideas.” Making cross-topic and cross-curricular connections can give your students a fresh perspective on a topic and open new ways of learning. How might you make a connection between science and another subject to allow your students to think beyond the traditional science perspective?

  3. Thanks for sharing a great post Evan! I think you most certainly can become an exemplary science teacher by “putting students in charge of their learning”. Giving students ownership over their work and goals in the classroom can increase the level of engagement and inquiry occurring in the classroom. Moreover, I appreciate that you considered how teachers should not be afraid to confront their own lack of knowledge in certain cases and to learn along with the students. Do you think that this will create more of a feeling of unity and responsibility in your classroom?

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