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 the main criterion of teacher accountability.

The theory of learning that underlies these Federal reform efforts is behaviorism.  It’s a theory that is very good if you want to teach behaviors.  … Read more

The Footprints Puzzle as a Pedagogical Tool

In recent posts, I’ve discussed the history of the Footprints Puzzle which was prompted by an article (Tracking the Footprints Puzzle) in the Journal Science Education by Ault and Dodick, and explored the relationship between approaching science as a process approach, or as a conceptual or content viewpoint.

In this post I am finishing my examination of the Footprints Puzzle by showing how the it can be used as a powerful pedagogical tool, a tool that has its roots in the origins of modern science.  … Read more

Why Cooperative Learning Should Be Natural in Science Teaching

One of the major pedagogical strategies used in schools is the didactic approach in which the teacher delivers the content for the students to learn. Yet, didactic strategies have raised more questions than the benefits of this direct teaching model. Instead, over the past 20 years this old model of teaching has been replaced by cognitive theories of teaching and learning, and at the center of these pedagogies is constructivism. And at the heart of constructivism is idea that learning, in classrooms, benefits greatly from an arrangement in which the teacher encourages and supports social interaction among students.… Read more

Science Teaching Research Around the World: Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education

I recently became acquainted with a relatively “young” journal of research devoted to helping us understand science teaching: The Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science, and Technology Education (EJSMT). EJSMTE has its headquarters in Turkey. It’s editor, Hüseyin BAG, is professor at Pamukkale Universitesi, TURKEY, and the Associate Editor, Mehmet Fatih TASAR, is professor at Gazi Universitesi, TURKEY.

One can feel the exuberance of the editorial team by reading the Editorial in the most recent issue. In a very short time (the journal was launched in 2005), the journal has grown (more than 10, 000 hits to its most recent issue, according to Dr.… Read more