The time for endless worksheets, solely lecture based classes, and teaching within the pretty painted lines that the textbooks lay out has come to an end. An extinction event has occurred. Although scary, extinction of these traditional views on education allows for new life to develop! The new life of being an exemplary science teacher is waiting!
What is exemplary teaching (since we have now established what it is no)? There are 4 key components that I believe embody exemplary teaching.
- Centers around the students.
- Uses real-life examples and experiments.
- Is question driven.
- Allows for development of students’ creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
We see exemplary teaching when we look in our lives at the teachers who are guided by these key components.
The 2015 movie, Spare Parts – a movie adaptation to a book, Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream by Joshua Davis – demonstrates how impactful exemplary science teaching can be for both teacher and student alike.
In my classroom, I want to actively engage and use the 4 key components to guide how I interact with my students and run my classroom.
1. My classroom will center around the students.
- Students should always be at the heart of every classroom. Specifically, for exemplary science teaching, student engagement should be the center concern for all of the work done.
- If we are doing an experiment, they will be student driven, hands-on experiments.
- The units we cover will be teacher guided, but student driven.
Picture Source: https://www.edtechlens.com/blog/simple-science-experiments
2. My classroom will use real-life examples and experiments.
- Students engage more with their learning if it is applicable.
- I will strive to create partnerships with the community and conduct student-driven research.
- Experiments should be based around student inquiry, not cookbook experimentation.
A Possible Chemistry Lesson Plan (Focusing on C.PM.5: Qualifying Matter):
- Start the class by asking thought-provoking questions about how we know how much of X is in product X. (Would be bringing in a can of soup or shampoo.)
- Then we would move into determining how many jellybeans or coins were in a container I would pass out in small groups.
- Next we would come together as a class and discuss our findings. From the findings, we would dive into a lesson that would talk about what it means to qualify matter and why it’s important to our own lives.
- Then the class would be broken up into teams to come up with different ways to try to indirectly quantify matter of household items.
- The assessment would come in the form of an experiment write up.
Picture Source: http://harbertmagazine.auburn.edu/index.php/2018/03/21/what-can-we-learn-from-jelly-beans/
3. My classroom will be question driven.
- Teachers should model thought-provoking questions for their students, with the goal of shifting to allow students to ask more questions.
- Lessons should start with meaningful questions.
A Possible Chemistry Activity (Focusing on C.PM.1: Atomic Structure):
- Atomic structure is one of the first things to typically cover.
- Students are broken into small groups and must ask as many questions as they can about the atom. They may already know the answer, or they may not.
- Coming back together, I would pose questions to the students -probing them to begin to think about what we are going to learn. (i.e. What are some of the different ways, historically, an atom has been viewed?)
- Next, we would compile a list of all of our questions and think about what each of these questions are asking.
- We would discuss after this class collaboration, why we had these questions, the importance of questions, and how we can use these questions to guide our learning.
4. My classroom will allow for development of students’ creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
- Student’s should be engaged and challenged.
- Inquiry based teaching should be utilized (when possible).
- The 5 E’s of inquiry should be followed during the unit: engage, explore, explain, elaborate, and evaluate.
With all of this being said, these are my own thoughts on how to be an exemplary teacher. There are many different ways to engage your students and make meaningful connections with them. If we as educators set our goals toward moving away from average teaching we can become exemplary. Let’s start this new life of exemplary teaching together!
Sorry – ignore the duplicate comment
Your passion about being an exemplary teacher really came through in the blog post. In particular, I like that you highlighted the importance using real-life examples and experiments. I think being able to show how content learned in the classroom is relevant to everyday life is one of the most important ways to make science meaningful to our students. What might be one of the ways your students can partner with the community to do chemistry-based outreach/research?
Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for reading my post! You ask a great question. One way that I envision chemistry-based outreach/research partnership would be possibly working with companies, like P&G. These companies would be able to provide supplies that would help bolster learning and allows for the company to better serve the community around it. For example, it would be great to use real supplies (like shampoos) to quantify matter. Along with that partnering with a company or the community would bring in ideas that would really engage the students in a way that I would not have thought of!
Your passion about being an exemplary teaching really came through in the blog post. In particular, I like that you highlighted the importance using real-life examples and experiments. I think being able to show how content learned in the classroom is relevant to everyday life is one of the most important ways to make science meaningful to our students. What might be one of the ways your students can partner with the community to do chemistry-based outreach/research?