on May 16, 2003
Credibility of a "Scientist"
Reading Kathryn's question and some of the responses prompted me to
ruminate about my own credibility and that of others who are "none of
the above," neither a K-12 teacher, nor a teacher-leader, nor K-12
administrator. My primary training is as a scientist, but I've
transitioned over the past 10 years from strictly doing science to
focusing almost entirely on K-12 education and teacher preparation.
I often co-facilitate workshops for teachers, and I think perhaps the
most valuable part of my preparation for this role has been the time
I've spent in K-8 classrooms -- sometimes observing master teachers,
sometimes trying to teach inquiry-based science modules myself, and
sometimes just talking to kids about science. I find it interesting
that scientists tend to be granted more credibility within the world of
science education than we deserve simply because we're scientists.
Ultimately, the credibility of scientists within the world of science
education should be tied to what we know about issues of teaching and
learning and not merely to knowing a lot of science content.