Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Buehl Reflection

          While reading about text-to-self experiences, I found it very concerning that teachers do not have access to "good" science textbooks.  What can teachers do with such limited resources to make science exciting in the classroom?  Not only must we find supplemental text readings, we might have to find better representations to utilize.  It all sounds kind of overwhelming, re-evalutating every diagram or representation within a textbook or workbook, especially if we have to research and find better representations to aid understanding of any given topic.  If the science textbook our school has provided for us just will not work for what we envision with our lesson plans and models, do we find another textbook or just make up worksheets for every single lesson?  I think removing a traditional science textbook from a classroom could be very beneficial in the sense that one's students might be more open to learning or even find learning about science more accessible to them.  A teacher could then draw on all of the informal learning students have shared, and incorporate that into the lessons if he/she is writing up his/her own worksheets.  I think this would be a great way to engage students in the learning by making it directly related to their own life experiences.  Buehl mentions teachers have used hands-on activities to combat this, but that these often to correlate to meeting standards or taking standardized tests.  I think use of minds-on activities would be best to let students developing deeper understanding of concepts but we would still need to use and test students with some standardization, in addition to testing based on creating or explaining a scientific model.
          I was also intrigued/concerned about dealing with students who might have misconceptions about science either because they were told something inaccurate or because they view science through a religious lens.  Altering students' schemas sounds very daunting and perhaps impossible.  How should a teacher approach this?  I do not want my students to partition what I teach them into "what I need to know while I'm in this class" and "what I really know about things" nor do I think that I should be okay with that.  Perhaps one could overtly convince them otherwise by frontloading them, which might ease the discomfort of learning something that combats what they believe.  I really like Buehl's idea of mentoring students to inform themselves because maybe they could resolve any misconceptions by themselves, which could be more comfortable than a teacher telling them "Nope, this is how it is and this is why you are wrong."  Encouraging this curiosity is exactly what a science teacher needs to do so that students would be more willing to recognize or experience informal learning.

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