Reading Response 1

I found O’Neill and Barton’s (2005) journal very interesting. I agree that science education is not as strong in education as it should be. In my school this year, we didn’t start science until February, same with social studies. Science and Social Studies was hardly taught due to the big emphasis on ELA and Math. Although ELA and Math are important, I felt that the students missed out on the informal learning through science. The one science lesson that sticks out in my mind (maybe because it was the only one) was studying a cell through microscopes. I never seen these kids have so much fun learning as they did in this lesson. I really see how valuable informal science learning is in classrooms.

Brown and Knowles (2014) brought up a lot of strong points regarding the importance of a caring learning environment in middle school. In middle school, students undergo an abundance of stress that can affect student learning. On page 103, Brown and Knowles listed reasons teachers may cause student stress. A couple of these stood out to me, including, “pushing students to learn abstract principles that are beyond their cognitive capabilities without appropriate guidance.” This stood out to me because I remember this happening to me in middle school. I had a hard time remembering historical events, concepts, and dates. All my teacher did was read from the text and expect us to absorb the information like it was nothing. This was hard for me and she never had any scaffolds or prepared any strategies that would help me retain the information. Moving forward, I want to make sure that no matter what i teach, I set realistic expectations and implement strategies so that no student feels stuck or confused when they leave my classroom.

    Brown and Knowles also brought up “Responding to Crisis”. I think this is extremely important, even more so because I was a student during 9/11 and my community’s schools were also greatly affected by Hurricane Sandy. It felt so close to me because I had just graduated my high school and began my time at Pace. During that time, the high school I went to was damaged so badly that kids had to be bussed to a vacant school 8 miles away. I can’t imagine trying to learn new concepts or focus on academics during a time like that. Therefore, I realize how important it is to be sensitive to students lives outside of the classroom and making sure that my classroom is a caring environment where students can be free to express themselves.

 

I think we can transform formal learning settings into informal settings by creating time in our lessons for students to discover and take ownership of their work. According to Barton and O’Neill (2005), informal science learning is described as learning that takes place when the science taught is not bound by a predesigned curriculum but emerges from students’ questions and interests surrounding some activity or investigation.” This definition sticks out to me because I feel like it doesn’t only pertain to science. For example, if you’re teaching math and the topic is coordinates on a plane, perhaps create a project where students have to construct a room or park using sets of coordinates. This allows students to become more engaged and excited to create, discover, and learn in a new capacity.

 
    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Rebecca,

      You did a very nice job with this reading response.

      As a science educator, I share your concern about the lack of science taught in elementary schools. Part of this, I believe, is a function of the teachers' lack of science content knowledge, as well as the primacy given to math and ELA.

      This really resonated for me:

      On page 103, Brown and Knowles listed reasons teachers may cause student stress. A couple of these stood out to me, including, “pushing students to learn abstract principles that are beyond their cognitive capabilities without appropriate guidance."

      In my experience this happens especially when the teacher does not feel confident about a content area. We never do this when we know the content well and see how it connects naturally to lots of other things.

      How do you think you would address these deficits?

       

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