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Teaching Philosophy

My Personal Science Teaching Philosophy

It is important for all students to develop an understanding and appreciation of science.  The goal of science is to help children develop the ability and confidence to investigate the answers to questions.  Teachers must assist in the development of skills and concepts that motivate an inquisitive attitude in students.  Science teaches students the skills that are useful throughout their lives.  Students learn to think critically, solve problems and make decisions.  It also develops a curiosity, sensitivity, and responsibility concerning real life issues.  Science has the ability to form students into scientifically literate citizens who can make informed decisions. 

            Students learn best when the learning is meaningful and relevant to their lives.  In order for this to occur, lessons need to be sensitive to the diverse needs and interests of students.  Project-based science addresses these needs while also providing students the opportunity to actively investigate these important topics.  Students should develop driving question which are both important to them and sets the stage for the investigation.  If students are to be actively involved in an investigation they must understand the impact a topic has on their lives.  After a driving question has been developed students investigate an answer to the problem rather than being told the answer by a teacher or a textbook.  Students, teachers, and communities work together to solve the problem.  Through collaboration of information and the use of learning technologies students are able to use a variety of resources in their investigations.  This method of teaching is important because it stresses the importance of science being relevant to students’ lives and the investigation process.    

            Suppose a teacher plans to teach a lesson about the scientific method.  Two very different approaches to this lesson could be chosen in order to cover the same material.  Option one asks students to read a chapter from their textbook which covers the scientific method.  They are then asked to write out the vocabulary words from this chapter.  As a wrap up, students are asked to read about an experiment which has taken place and identify the hypothesis, variables, conclusion and so forth.  Option two asks students to work in small groups to develop a problem of question or problem that they would like to investigate.  After developing these driving questions, the teacher discusses the steps and importance of the scientific method, as relevant to the student’s questions.  Students are then asked to investigate their problem and later present their findings to class.  The presentation must include a poster which identifies all the parts of the scientific method as they are relevant to their specific investigation or experiment.  This second method is the project-based method and helps students develop a far greater understanding of the scientific method. 

            Science must be viewed by students and teaches as a way to develop skills and concepts that are relevant to their everyday lives.  This connection fosters a greater appreciation and respect for the subject matter that is covered.  Students can apply there critically think, problem solving and decision making skills to other subject areas.  Science is an important part of developing students into literate citizens. 

Ms. Gemma FitzPatrick
Marquette University class of '08
Elementary Education and Psychology Undergraduate