How does a teacher hook students into their classroom so that they will be remembered in 40 years? What can a teacher do to connect students to their material further than achieving the highest mark? How can students learn to interact with one another as they increase their knowledge? These questions are imperative for a teacher to solve for their classroom. Without them, the atmosphere will be dull and students will be more focused on the clock than the teacher. The answer to these questions can be found in exemplary science teaching practices that go beyond lectures and written assignments.
What are Exemplary Science Practices and Instruction?
The focus of exemplary science teaching revolves around the teacher going above and beyond to create a classroom atmosphere where the student is the focus. These practices can be seen as but are not limited to
- Provide resources for students to create their own answer
- Incorporate student interests as materials for class
- Create student-lead assignments
- Promote parent involvement in the classroom
- Connect subject material to real-world examples
- Alter time for assignments based on student needs
Using Inquiry-based Classrooms for Student Engagement
Inquiry-based classrooms build student engagement as they become more comfortable with the process. The general form of asking questions followed by investigations and discussions of a subject promotes a vibrant learning atmosphere while creating memories for each student.
“Teachers can bring science alive by using inquiry to link the needs, interests, and experiences of their students with the learning activities of the classroom.” p. 30Schmidt, S. M. (2003). Learning by Doing: Teaching the Process of Inquiry. Science Scope, 27(1), 27–30.
Relationship as an Exemplary Teacher
A student’s relationship with their teacher is often what is remembered at the end of the year. It is vital that genuine care for students is highlighted within the classroom. One that a student will see when they are congratulated the following day during class about their game-winning shot, a snack to help them get through the day, or a word of applause after a band recital. Joe Ruhl explains his concept of care is one of the most important aspects a teacher can have in their classroom in the second half of his TED talk. Alongside this, he also talks about the kind of love that a teacher should have. Using the word agape, taken from C.S. Lewis’s book, The Four Loves, he shows the importance of this type of love in the classroom.
Left – Joe Rulh’s TED Talk.
Right – Simple definitions of the four loves from C.S. Lewis
Source: Google Images
Let’s Get Personal
Epistemology, the study of how you know what you know, is one of my favorite topics and will be at the forefront of my teaching. Part of my path to exemplary teaching will be a classroom where students understand the material further than, “It is what my teacher told me, and I just need the answer for an A.” Rather, I would have students understand a concept like hydrogen bonding concerning the partial charges of an electronegative atom and the partial positive of a hydrogen attached to another atom. In the same way, magnetism shows that there are forces of attraction that can stick two items together without having to use glue (bond) to connect two objects.
Exemplary science teaching involves the teacher creating a class beyond a standard lecture that students will look back to in the latter years of their lives.