How I Teach Science

My personal philosophy of teaching physics is one that utilizes the principles of engineering design and inquiry based learning.  Science is a discipline that cannot be taught by simply learning and applying formulas.  It must be experienced by students through creation, experimentation, and exploration in order to foster meaningful learning.  I do not want students to simply verify scientific laws in linear experiments but instead to utilize their body of knowledge to synthesize solutions to real world problems.  Meaningful student learning requires meaningful student engagement and I believe that inquiry based learning as well as engineering design meet those requirements.  My reaching style is similar to an educational consultant.  Many of my students will be upperclassmen and we need to be able to engage in self-directed learning to prepare for their collegiate or vocational career.  My students will be the center of the learning, using me as a resource for troubleshooting problems and exploring content in more detail.  By removing myself as the central source of knowledge, it allows the students to develop skills such as self-teaching and peer to peer collaboration.

My teaching philosophy is heavily influenced by the inductive teaching model.  Inductive teaching occurs when the teacher provides the students with a specific challenge that the need to solve.  Students then work to solve the problem while utilizing methods of inquiry to explore the content needed to develop a solution.  This teaching method greatly increases student engagement due to clear connections to the real world and strengthens retention of knowledge and skills.  Effective science teaching utilizes inductive teaching methods to develop important skills such as critical and applied thinking, data analysis, and creating solutions.  An effective science classroom should involve students working in groups to solve challenges utilizing either inductive processes or engineering design.  Students should all be engaged in the task at hand and feel welcome to ask questions not only to the teacher but also to their fellow students.

Effective integration of technology is another important part of effective science education.  Online experimentation platforms can allow students to create and test models in a way that would not be feasible in person. Technology also allows for teachers to introduce students to a wide range of content that can broaden their horizons and strengthen student understanding.  Engineering design is also key part of science education.  The engineering design process teaches students how to utilize engineering processes to develop solutions to real world problems.  It builds meaningful learning by allowing the student to systematic develop and refine a product that utilizes both their knowledge and skills.  It is also imperative that we develop proper assessments in order to gauge scientific learning.  It is my personal belief that project-based assessment is one of the most effective methods for assessing understanding as it assesses both the finished product and process for creating the product.

Meaningful science learning is a result of a combination of different methods working together.  Inquiry based learning and engineering design allow students to develop knowledge by creating solutions to relevant problems.  Integration of technology can amplify these benefits by allowing for easier cooperation and access to a wider range of content.  Inductive teaching is student driven and by acting as an educational consultant I believe I can best assist my students without shifting the focus from them.  Science education is critical to student growth and  by using inductive methods of teaching, such as engineering design, combined with technology and proper assessment we can ensure student learning is meaningful and long lasting.

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