Exemplary Science Teaching

The real teachers inspired by Dead Poets Society - BBC News

Being exemplary, being the best, is something that we all strive for in our careers. Athletes, musicians, CEOs are always striving to be more efficient, successful, and profitable. Teachers are the same way. But how do you measure your effectiveness as a teacher? You can’t count how many championship rings you have. Instead, you measure your effectiveness by the impact you’ve had on your students and the depth of learning they experienced in your classroom. In order to be the best teacher you can be, to truly be exemplary, here is a list of guidelines about exemplary science teaching that will allow you to have the most positive impact on your future students.


  • Asking Questions

Asking questions is a critical part of teaching. Many teachers use the traditional teaching method of spewing information to the class. Instead, try posing questions to the class. This way, you allow them to think for themselves instead of telling them what to think. They can come up with their own answers, and even if the answer is wrong, after correcting their wrong thinking they will be able to remember the answer more easily.

  • Engaging the Classroom

Classroom engagement is key to knowledge retention. When students do activities, such as cooperative learning, they are more engaged in the lesson. This lets them associate the information with more positive emotions, and strengthen their memory of the content.

  • Discovery

As a science teacher, I strive to keep the feeling of discovery alive in the classroom. The act of discovery is what motivated every pioneer in science to seek out new knowledge and new discoveries. Sadly, this critical element is often lost in classrooms. By doing inquiry-based activities, students can feel this sense of discovery when learning science concepts, improving their knowledge and retention.

9 Things Invented or Discovered by Accident | HowStuffWorks


  • Teaching to the Test

Many teachers use the upcoming test as a strict guideline on what to teach. This leaves no wiggle room to explore other topics that the students are currently interested in. If your students are currently curious about other topics, you should not be so cemented in your course calendar that you refuse to explore these other topics with them.

  • Lecture

Lecture is used much too often in today’s classroom. In a typical lecture, students zone out and their minds wander while the teacher drones on about subjects that don’t seem to relate to their life. Instead, you should engage the classroom and make the topics relevant to their lives.

  • Memorization

Often in science classrooms, memorization is emphasized. This however is not true learning, and should not be seen as a substitute for knowledge. True learning is when students are able to truly understand and master concepts, which happens when students go beyond pure memorization.


  1. Hi Nathan!

    I took my blog post in a similar direction! I think it is so important to tell teachers what exemplary science teaching looks like, but also what to maybe stay away from when evaluating their teaching styles. I liked your point about how exemplary science teaching is not teaching to the test. Unfortunately, however, testing is important in education! It helps us make decisions, big and small, for our students. Is there a way we can we still cover material that might be on a test, while also appealing to student interests? I’m excited for your response, great post!

  2. Hey Nate!
    Awesome job on adding those tweets! That made this post very personal and we could relate to your teaching style. I think that you focused on the reasons behind exemplary teaching very well. I also feel that in order to properly perform exemplary teaching we must be well informed on the most up-to-date teaching styles. I think that education even after graduation is a must. It allows us to continue to learn and become stronger teachers. What are some ways we can continue our education even after graduation? I think overall your post was amazing and really liked the uniqueness of it.

  3. Hey nathan,

    I liked your post and thought it was very informative. The only thing I would add to this is some examples of how you could incorporate discovery into your classroom. Is there a way to add discovery in lesson plans or do you have to take the kids on a field trip to give them that experience? How can you model the real world in the classroom to feel that students are discovering with hands on experiences?

  4. Hey Luke! Thanks for the feedback, I’m glad you liked hearing about what I think makes an exemplary science teacher! As for your question, I am not exactly sure of how to make memorization into an inquiry activity. It is hard to do this because these terms are usually not something that can be discovered independently. But there are a lot of ways to make it engaging for students, such as races between students or time trials on how fast they can recall the memorized terms. Games like these make memorizing terms more interesting and fun for students.

  5. Hey Nathan!
    Great post! I really enjoyed how you not only explained what exemplary science teaching is but what it is not. I think it was an important reminder that some of the tasks and activities that are so prevalent in the science classroom do not engage the students at all. I also appreciate how you discussed the huge role discovery has in exemplary science teaching, and how discovery is how science works in the first place. I would argue that memorization and lecture is sometimes unavoidable in the classroom; students need to know certain things and be comfortable enough with science terminology. How would you turn a memorization activity into an inquiry activity or at least make it engaging for the students?

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