Engaged learners help to create an exciting classroom! The support provided by the instructor is critical to the classroom’s success, and can better help take learning to the next level if facilitated appropriately.
Why be an exemplary science teacher? Exemplary science teaching is transforming a lesson into a meaningful, engaging opportunity for students to be excited to learn. Having peaked the students’ interests, teachers can incorporate hands on activities in the classroom that will impact their experience with that content much more than a lecture would. To recognize when a classroom is led by an exemplary teacher, a good rule of measurement is student engagement. Visually, students should be participating in conversation, asking questions, and relating their findings to their prior knowledge.
How will I incorporate this in my own class? When I have a classroom of my own, I plan to incorporate different techniques to help increase my student engagement. In the Exemplary Science Teacher chapter, Elizabeth Horsch explains how her students went from asking, “will it be on the test?” to “how do we know what we know?” She was able to transform her class into a place of wondering, rather than a place of lecturing. She did this by incorporating learning through inquiry, hands on, and student-led activities. Walter Sharp was effective in the way he was able to incorporate parents in the science classroom. He made resources available for parents/guardians as well as extended communication on how they can help their students with science at home.
Let’s consider the alternative. Take a chance to watch Danny Doucette explain how teachers are not properly implementing science content that students can relate to in their own life. He goes on to explain how scientific demonstrations are not engaging enough for students, and the approaches to raising new scientists and engineers is setting society backwards. Assessments such as multiple choice tests do not allow for students to ask questions, develop a hypothesis, or conduct an experiment to showcase their knowledge. Solutions include incorporating the usage of projects, group collaborations, portfolios, etc. By changing the way science is assessed in schools, teachers are one step closer to bringing memorable experiences to their students.
The takeaway. As an educator, inspiring students to want to learn is of the utmost importance. Making a classroom environment that welcomes different ideas, encourages diversity, and is a safe space for sharing/asking questions can help create more meaningful learning experiences for students. Allowing students to have a say in their learning while simultaneously having the guide of their teacher can leave an impact on the student for long after the content is addressed.