Online Module 1: Make Teaching Simple yet Effective

Honestly among all the Scientific Ted-Talks, and research articles I have been reading on how educational theory for adolescents should be applied, Tyler Dewitt’s presentation and discussion in his Ted-Talk nailed it. We share the same method of teaching. I always try to teach my students as simple as possible. Science in itself is a scary topic as a child, especially when taught about all the information required and necessary for them to learn. The scientific vocabulary is so dense I don’t blame students for being disinterested.

 

I won't be introducing a new unit yet until the next week or so, but I want to focus on the application of using concept maps in my classroom for science. We have used it in our own master’s course and it seemed effective. I know the use of concept maps is vital because they represent a tool for cognitive developmental changes in students. Basically, concepts maps can have a longer impact on instructional value. The use of this tool and its application in the classroom starts off with how to effectively construct a concept map. That begins with creating a Focus Question that specifies the issue that the concept wants to resolve. Afterwards, allow students to select a domain/topic and identify key concepts that apply to that domain while trying to make sure they do not deviate from the focus question. This ties into my method of simplicity and Tyler Dewitt’s argument. Why make things complicated for students especially science? And so I want to tell a story while at the same time teaching my students the relevant science topics that are required. In return, I can allow my students to tell me a story through the use of concept maps.

 

In addition, what I need to apply to my classroom is “involving the whole class.” What happens in a middle school setting is that I am in a hurry all the time to obtain a response because I know every second counts, therefore I only ask students who usually know the answer that I am looking for. Aside from using popsicle sticks to randomly call on students as a form of cold calling and introducing to students that they should be focused 100% of the time because at any moment they may be called on, I want to apply a ‘show me’ method stated in the article “Unit 2: active questioning” (pg. 8). As far as resources go, I do have a class set of whiteboards my students can use, however I never thought to use it in such a way. Using them even as a simple way to answer a closed question and have them write their answer on these whiteboards, followed by saying ‘show me’ where they hold them up so I can see their responses is genius. This is a perfect way I can access student understanding on basic concepts especially with vocabulary, rather than picking on one student to just give me the answer and making sure everyone hears that one student because it’s the correct one. Now I can access everyone while also looking for that one answer.

 

My question is in regards to the article “Innovative methods of teaching science and engineering in secondary schools.” It’s probably only me or maybe someone else agrees but the article is really ‘blahhh’ and dense with so many words that I literally skipped this article and saved it as my last one to read for this module. I read it over and over again and understood a small portion of what it is discussing, but my question is why am I reading this? I know adolescents especially in a middle school setting are extremely emotional and personal. Everything they do plays a huge role into their social status in school. This article seems to pretty much sum up that a majority of middle schoolers are visual and hands on (kinesthetic) learners and we should instruct inquiry based learning that address these learning styles. However aren’t all if not most students regardless of age similar to middle schoolers when it comes to their learning styles? All students, myself included enjoy and learn more through doing, rather than listening. What is the purpose of this article and the message it is trying to relay?