Discussion: Keynote Part 1

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posted by: Cheryl Pilatowski on May 13, 2003 at 9:37PM
subject: Content Knowledge in Science
It is crucial the teachers have the background knowledge of the subject
they teach. They must feel comfortable with the topic in order to
convey the knowledge to the students. In our TAPESTRIES program, the
teachers spend two weeks with teacher educators and scientists at the
college level developing a deeper understanding of the science concepts
they will be imparting to their students. BUT the teachers must know
how to do more than impart the knowledge. They must teach the students
to ask questions, explore ways to arrive at answers, communicate data,
recognize explanations are generated in response to observations,
analyze, design, explain, formulate, and compare. In our program they
are given strategies to use to help the students arrive at their own
explanation of the concepts and to develop those important skills and
Even with all the background knowledge and strategies presented we find
many teachers continue to equate learning “content” with reading. They
reason the content must be in black and white in order for it to be
valid. They believe “doing” science does not teach the students any
content. Once they are given the knowledge and strategies needed to
move them past this, we find there is still a hesitation to move away
from the book. Why? Is one of the reasons because teachers are often
uncomfortable giving the students control over their own leaning? This
is not easy for teachers to do. They like to be in total control of
the lesson and they want all students to arrive at the answer the same
way. It is very difficult for teachers to relinquish that control of
their classrooms.
Learning math and science is so much more than a set or rules…it is
determining the how and why! We must give our students the necessary
skills needed to arrive at the correct answers, no mater how the
students choose to get there.
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