Students Choose What to Learn: Freedom to Learn in the Science Classroom by Terrill L Nickerson

Guest Post: Terrill L. Nickerson Terrill Nickerson is veteran high school science teacher with 26 years experience.  His first 15 years teaching science began in the Native American community, beginning on the Hopi Reservation in NE Arizona, and then on to teach at Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, NM.  He is now teaching […]

Is Inquiry The Magnum Principium of Teaching?

Seventh Article in the Series, The Artistry of Teaching Is Inquiry the Magnum Principium of Teaching?  If it is, what is it and how does it help us understand teaching, especially if we want to explore artistry in teaching. In our view inquiry is the sin qua non of experiential teaching and learning.  When teachers […]

Is Teaching an Abacus or a Rose?

First article in a series on The Artistry of Teaching Preface Teaching is more immediate than reflective, and the artistry of teaching, much like creativity, comes to the prepared mind, sometimes serendipitously, more often as an invention or ingenious solution to an immediate problem. Many of you will agree that teachers are closer to being […]

What Everybody Ought to Know About Teaching

In this post I am going to share some thinking about teaching that I learned along my journey as a teacher from three people.  I future posts I’ll share thoughts about teaching from other people who I’ve met along the way. What everybody ought to know about teaching is a response to what Henry Giroux […]

Hip-Hop Culture & Science Teaching: Progressive Education in Action

I’ve written several posts on this blog about Professor Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Emdin has worked for years in New York City schools with urban youth to help teachers change the way they work with their students to bring real meaning to the learning […]

Hip-Hop Culture & Science Teaching: Progressive Education in Action

I’ve written several posts on this blog about Professor Christopher Emdin, Professor of Science Education, Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City. Dr. Emdin has worked for years in New York City schools with urban youth to help teachers change the way they work with their students to bring real meaning to the learning […]

Practicing What They Preach: Science Teacher Educators Return to School

In a forthcoming book, 25 science teacher educators describe their experiences after returning to teach students in K-12 public schools and informal settings.  Science Teacher Educators as K-12 Teachers: Practicing What We Teach was edited by Michael Dias, professor of biology and science education, Kennesaw State University (Georgia), Charles J. Eich, professor of science education, […]

The Debate We Should Have Had: Science, Climate and the Next Four Years

Note:  I just received this update from ScienceDebate’s Shawn Otto reminding us of the following debate on climate science on Thursday, November 1 in D.C. The Debate We Should Have Had: Science, Climate and the Next Four Years Featuring Obama campaign surrogate Kevin Knobloch and former Republican congressman and Delaware governor Mike Castle. Moderated by ScienceDebate.org‘s […]

Inspiration in the Rockies

  This is a view from the YMCA of the Rockies, which I first visited in August, 1975 to attend my first conference of the Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP). Since then I’ve been here about 15 times. But it was my attendance at the (AHP) conference that changed my outlook as a teacher at […]

Count Down to the Next Generation Science Standards

UPDATE: The Next Generation Science Standards are available for public view and feedback here.   According to various bloggers, the Next Generation Science Standards are to be released today for public review.  The release has been delayed twice, and hopefully we’ll see the draft of the science standards. According to the Next Generation Science Standards […]

Nationalized Assessments in Mathematics, English/Language Arts & Science are Just Around the Corner

National Assessments in  mathematics, English/language arts and science are coming soon to an American school in your neighborhood.  Although the national science assessments are a few years away, the national assessments in mathematics and English/language arts will begin early pilots and field testing next school year, and will be ready for full operational administration in 2014 – 2015. […]

Nationalized Assessments in Mathematics, English/Language Arts & Science are Just Around the Corner

National Assessments in  mathematics, English/language arts and science are coming soon to an American school in your neighborhood.  Although the national science assessments are a few years away, the national assessments in mathematics and English/language arts will begin early pilots and field testing next school year, and will be ready for full operational administration in 2014 – 2015. […]

Guest Post by Ingvar Stål: Humanistic Science Inquiry-Oriented Teaching in Finland

Note: This is the second post by Dr. Ingvar Stål, Senior lecturer in physics, chemistry, and science at the Botby Junior High School. In his first post, which you can read here, Dr. Stål gave us an overview of the Finnish educational system, which provides a basic education to all Finnish citizens ages 7 to 16, as well as […]

The Radical Idea of Helping Students Construct Their Own Ideas

Helping students construct their own ideas is considered by some educators a subversive idea that runs counter to the present impetus of the Race to the Top and NCLB Waivers. These Federal programs, especially NCLB, have created a narrowing of the curriculum, a data-driven, test-based school culture, and the despicable use of student tests as […]

We Have Low Expectations for American Students in Math & Science!

Who the #@!% would make such a statement? Why would such a statement be made about America’s youth? If you go the Broad Foundation Education page you will find the answer to the first question.  This is the first of four statements about American youth, followed by “stark” statistics.  The Broad Foundation says: We have low expectations […]

We Have Low Expectations for American Students in Math & Science!

Who the #@!% would make such a statement? Why would such a statement be made about America’s youth? If you go the Broad Foundation Education page you will find the answer to the first question.  This is the first of four statements about American youth, followed by “stark” statistics.  The Broad Foundation says: We have low expectations […]

Learning to Teach in America: Pathways and Exits

Aspiring teachers can find their way to teaching in one of two pathways, teacher education programs (TE) at public and private universities or alternative programs, such Teach for America (TFA).  Although there are mixed results, there is little to no evidence that the Teach for America teachers are more effective than teachers who graduate from America’s teacher […]

Educational Reform: A Letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama, Educational reform is in need of your attention and help.  The 2012 election is only 11 months away, and I am writing this letter to you and your team for consideration as a policy statement as you outline your views on education, especially as it pertains to the educational reforms that have […]

5 Education Reform Posts Not To Ignore

Education reform in education seen through the lens of writers and teachers appears as repetitions of innovative ideas that claimed to change and improve schooling as we know it.  In a post at Education Week, Anthony Weiner suggests that education reform of any age simply offers more of the same.  In particular, he sees education reform […]

NCLB + RTTT = MOTS (More of the Same)

The equation above can also be expressed as follows: The No Child Left Behind Act + the Race to the Top Fund = More of the Same NCLB & Race to the Top In an edweek.org newsletter there was a No Child Left Behind Alert that I found interesting, and provided the starting point for […]

On the Practice of Science Inquiry

Science As Inquiry, a construct developed in a recent publication, weaves together ideas about science teaching and inquiry that were developed over many years of work with practicing science teachers in the context of seminars conducted around the U.S.A, in school district staff development seminars, and courses that I taught at Georgia State University. Science […]

NCTE Says No to High-Stakes Testing

An article on Education Week reported that the National Council of Teachers of English considered proposals about high-stakes testing and the use of standards in public schools.  According to the authors of the report: the decision unfolded at the organization’s annual convention this past weekend in Chicago. As it does every year, the group accepts […]

Does the NCLB Act mean less time for science teaching?

The No Child Left Behind Act is linked to the data that shows schools in California are teaching less science because teachers are pressured to prepare students for the required math and English high-stakes tests. Valerie Strauss writes that Virginia is moving to require that students would only be required to take tests in math […]

Teachers of English Oppose Common Core Standards and National Tests

I read on the Schools Matter weblog site that the National Council of Teachers of English will consider a resolution to oppose the use of the Common Core State Standards, and national testing.  What about science teachers?  What about the National Science Teachers Association? In their resolution, they directly show that the claims that the […]

Teachers of English Oppose Common Core Standards and National Tests

I read on the Schools Matter weblog site that the National Council of Teachers of English will consider a resolution to oppose the use of the Common Core State Standards, and national testing.  What about science teachers?  What about the National Science Teachers Association? In their resolution, they directly show that the claims that the […]

New eBook: Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards

This week, The Art of Teaching Science will publish its third eBook on science education topics based on blog posts at this site.  The new eBook is entitled Achieving a New Generation of Common Science Standards.  The eBook will be published tomorrow, and will be free to all who visit this blog. The following text […]

First Art of Science Teaching eBook Published

The first in a series of science education eBooks was published today.  The title is Why Do We Teach Science?  You can access the eBook at the link on the top menu, or follow this link. Why do we teach science? is the first of a series of science education eBooks that will be published, and made available […]

3 Inquiry Lessons to Begin Your Science Course This Year

Do you have your plans worked out for the first days of the courses you will teach beginning this month or in September?  Here are three ideas you might consider, especially if you want to begin the year engaging your students in a science inquiry activity. I introduced these projects in the last post as […]

3 Inquiry Lessons to Begin Your Science Course This Year

Do you have your plans worked out for the first days of the courses you will teach beginning this month or in September?  Here are three ideas you might consider, especially if you want to begin the year engaging your students in a science inquiry activity. I introduced these projects in the last post as […]

Science, Technology, Society & Environmental Education Research

Science, Technology, Society & Environmental (STSE) education has been an important part of science education curriculum development and research. STSE educators opened channels and alternative paths for teaching science in which context was seen as a more powerful starting point for learning. Although these researchers don’t use phrase “humanistic science,” others have synthesized the field […]

Science, Technology, Society & Environmental Education Research

Science, Technology, Society & Environmental (STSE) education has been an important part of science education curriculum development and research. STSE educators opened channels and alternative paths for teaching science in which context was seen as a more powerful starting point for learning. Although these researchers don’t use phrase “humanistic science,” others have synthesized the field […]

350.org

I signed onto an organization called 350.org. According to materials I received, 350.org is sponsoring climate change actions around the world. The banner will take you to the 350.org site for further details about how you and your students might get involved. Receiving this information is perfect timing for post later this week about Australian […]

Science As Inquiry Website

This week, the 2nd Edition of Science As Inquiry will be published by Good Year Books. Science as Inquiry is based on the idea that learning is deepened if viewed as a communal experience, and that students are involved in making decisions about not only how they learn, but what they learn. Center stage in […]

Science as Inquiry Update

The revision to Science As Inquiry has been completed and it should be published and available at the end of June 2011. To get a feel for what is in the book, you are invited to visit the Science as Inquiry Website. Here is a screen shot of part of the first page of the […]

Science as Inquiry

For the past two months I have been involved in a revision of Science As Inquiry, a book I published with Goodyear Publishing in 2000. The book revision will be finished at the end of April, and the new edition will be published in the Fall of 2011. I’ve developed a website for the 2nd […]

Why do we teach science?: The Cultural Argument

In four of the last five posts, I’ve explored the question, Why do we teach science? from four points of view. Using a template by R. Stephen Turner, I’ve presented the arguments for teaching science from economic, democratic, and skills points of view. In this post, I want to use the cultural argument as the […]

Why Do We Teach Science, Anyway? The Democratic Argument

There are at least two interpretations that emerge when we explore why we teach science from the democratic argument.   The first interpretation is that we should be teaching science to help students become informed citizens in an increasingly technocratic and scientific world, and provide them with the tools to intelligently discuss, vote on, and […]

Teaching in America: It Should Not Be About Winning

There was an opinion piece in the New York Times on Sunday by Thomas Friedman entitled Teaching for America. On the front page on the Times website, the article title was Teaching to Win. Friedman’s article is supportive of current reform efforts, and the charge that the nations schools have put us in a hole […]

Science at the White House: An Oxymoron?

Science at the White House.  This is not a contradiction in terms.  This is not an oxymoron.  For the first time, the President of the United States brought to the White House award winning science projects, much like bringing the championship football or baseball team to take pictures with the President.  Yet, this event was […]

The Race to Nowhere

Yesterday I talked about curiosity in science teaching, and included a brief movie of images that were designed to help us think about inquiry and creativity in science teaching. I was checking my blog list last night, and I noticed on The Cool Cat Teacher blog an entry that showed a trailer for a new […]

Should science teaching be political? A Humanistic Question

Yesterday, I wrote about how science teacher education needs to embrace a humanistic perspective, and work with teachers at their highest level.  Today there is a dismissive language that runs across the political spectrum condemning public schools, and teachers.  This is fairly well documented in Diane Ravitch’s recent book, The Death and Life or the […]

Science Teaching at Botby Högstadieskolas: An Experiment in Teaching Science as an Optional Course

Would it be viable to offer science as an optional subject? What would happen to enrollment in science if it were an optional course? Would students sign up for such a course? How could the course be structured to interest students in wanting to take the course? In this post, I am going to feature […]

Progressive Science Education

I have been reading and have referenced on this weblog the October 2009 special issue of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching (JRST) on the topic/theme “Scientific Literacy and Contexts in PISA Science.”  The articles in the special issue provide a broad view of international testing as conceived in PISA, as well as the […]

PISA: Can this test measure the outcomes of progressive science education

Long title, sorry.  But, Volume 46, Issue 8 (October 2009) of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching was devoted to Scientific Literacy and Context in PISA Science.  The entire issue was devoted to this theme.  In one of the articles in this volume (Scientific Literacy, PISA, and Socioscientific Discourse: Assessment for Progressive Aims of […]

Science Education from People for People

In a recently published book, Science Education from People to People, (Kindle edition here) the contributing authors have created a book that builds up perspectives on science, scientific literacy, and science education “grounded in the lives of real people and that are oriented toward being for real people (rather than disembodied minds.)” In this book, […]

You’ll Never Use This Again, or What Knowledge is of most Worth?

There was a very interesting editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled You’ll never us this math again.  It was written by Ken Sprague Sr., a high school math teacher.  Mr. Sprague, in his own words says: I’m not advocating an end to math, only an end to math for math’s sake.  I am advocating for […]

You'll Never Use This Again, or What Knowledge is of most Worth?

There was a very interesting editorial in today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution entitled You’ll never us this math again.  It was written by Ken Sprague Sr., a high school math teacher.  Mr. Sprague, in his own words says: I’m not advocating an end to math, only an end to math for math’s sake.  I am advocating for […]

Inspiring Your Students to Understand Climate-Change & Our Energy Future

Perhaps the most important role of a teacher is to inspire students to value their intellectual and emotional abilities and to understand how they can use science to “improve the lives of those they have touched and the differences they have made” (quote from Dr. Steven Chu’s commencement speach at Caltech).  It isn’t enough to […]

Inspiring Your Students to Understand Climate-Change & Our Energy Future

Perhaps the most important role of a teacher is to inspire students to value their intellectual and emotional abilities and to understand how they can use science to “improve the lives of those they have touched and the differences they have made” (quote from Dr. Steven Chu’s commencement speach at Caltech).  It isn’t enough to […]

Action-Oriented Science Education

Last night my wife and I had dinner with very close friends of ours, Jenny & Dennis Springer. Dr. Jenny Springer, former principal of Dunwoody High School, and Associate Superintendent of Dekalb County Schools (Georgia) was an administrator that created an environment in which teachers thrived, and excelled in their work with students. I first […]

Promoting Personal, Social and Ecological Science Education

Within the science education community there has been a movement to explore the relationships among science, technology and society (STS), and this movement has a long history.  In fact, its history parallels the more conventional or traditional view of science education that has dominated most curriculum and pedagogy over the last century.  But alongside has […]

Science Teaching 3.0: A New Word Sign for Innovative Teaching

In the last post, I introduced the notion that we can look at science teaching, globalization, the Earth, and the World Wide Web using a three-point scale, e.g. 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. In particular, I introduced the use of the word-sign Science Teaching 3.0 as a way of calling attention to the humanistic science paradigm (click […]

Paradigm shifts: Education about, in and for the environment

Education about, in, and for the environment represent three different paradigms useful in helping us view environmental education and environmental science programs and activities.  Based on research by Rachel Michel (1996), these three paradigms can briefly be described as follows: Education about the environment is viewed as an approach in which information about the environment (concepts, facts, […]

Touch the earth: The case for learning outside the box

Many, many years ago I developed a book while being a writer for the Individualized Science Instructional System (ISIS) which was entitled Touch the Earth.  It was a geology mini-course, part of a large collection of earth, life, and physical science mini-courses for middle and high school science.  Although the title was a play on words, I […]

Earthday as a metaphor for a paradigm of informal learning

Informal learning as a paradigm for classroom learning suggests that learning is holistic, and is steeped in inclusiveness and connectedness.  As I suggested yesterday, John Dewey wrote about the importance of an “experiential education” more than 100 years ago, and his words are just as relevant today, as they were then. For many years I […]