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REIMAGING SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS EDUCATION: THE NEED FOR A SHARPENED DISCOURSE Manitoba Education Research Education, March 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "REIMAGING SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS EDUCATION: THE NEED FOR A SHARPENED DISCOURSE Manitoba Education Research Education, March 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 REIMAGING SCIENCE & MATHEMATICS EDUCATION: THE NEED FOR A SHARPENED DISCOURSE Manitoba Education Research Education, March 2012

2  Mortensen plays John Hadler  Passionate, liberal literature German professor in the Thirties - Berlin  Abrupt change in the political-social climate of Germany  Challenged to change ‘the curriculum of his soul” Proust: As long as men (sic) are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress (1917).

3 Self-Consideration Time!  Think of a ‘typical science or mathematics lesson’, that is, a lesson that typifies your teaching  Visualize the lesson.  What are you teaching? What is the content or ‘what’ of the lesson? What are the students learning?  ‘How’ are you teaching? What are your assumptions about how learning occurs?  ‘Why’ are you teaching? What is the implied learning focus? What is emphasized? What is of lasting value?  And, ultimately, what is assessed?

4 What is the focus of the teaching? How are you teaching? What would be assessed? What is taught? How is it taught? What is the important learning? And, what would be assessed?

5 Orientations to Curriculum  Curriculum of ‘our soul’  Motivations or guiding beliefs about our role as teachers of science and mathematics  What teachers see as the purpose of science and mathematics education  This purpose we enact professionally is, typically, embedded within who we are personally  What we believe is important is evidenced in the emphasis of our teaching  The priorities, content, conversations, assessment  Both the explicit and implicit curriculum

6 Elliot Eisner – A Sharpened Discourse Five Orientations to Curriculum  Development of cognitive processes – development of intellectual capacity and processes of inquiry  Academic rationalism – knowledge and skill acquisition specific for further academic study  Personal Relevance – intrinsic interest and curiosity in the world around. Building upon student’s past experiences for their future benefit.  Social Relevance – serving through action the social outcomes of importance to society and humanity as a whole – both reproduction and reconstruction  Curriculum as a technology - achieving standardized curriculum outcomes

7 Cognitive Processes Social Reproduction- Reconstruction Personal Relevance Curriculum Outcomes Academic Rational

8 Manitoba Science Curriculum Science education will:  encourage students at all grades to develop a critical sense of wonder and curiosity about scientific and technological endeavors  enable students to use science and technology to acquire new knowledge and solve problems, so that they may improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of others  prepare students to critically address science-related societal, economic, ethical, and environmental issues  provide students with a proficiency in science that creates opportunities for them to pursue progressively higher levels of study, prepares them for science-related occupations, and engages them in science-related hobbies appropriate to their interests and abilities  develop in students of varying aptitudes and interests a knowledge of the wide variety of careers related to science, technology, and the environment

9 Manitoba Science Curriculum Science Education will:  encourage students at all grades to develop a critical sense of wonder and curiosity about scientific and technological endeavors (cognitive processes - personal relevance)  enable students to use science and technology to acquire new knowledge and solve problems, so that they may improve the quality of their own lives and the lives of others (cognitive processes – social relevance – social reconstructionist)  prepare students to critically address science-related societal, economic, ethical, and environmental issues (cognitive processes -social relevance-social reconstructionist)  provide students with a proficiency in science that creates opportunities for them to pursue progressively higher levels of study, prepares them for science- related occupations, and engages them in science-related hobbies appropriate to their interests and abilities (academic rationalism – personal relevance)  develop in students of varying aptitudes and interests a knowledge of the wide variety of careers related to science, technology, and the environment (academic rationalism – personal relevance)

10 Grade 10 Science Cluster 2  S Relate an element’s position on the periodic table to its combining capacity (valence). Include: alkali metals, alkaline earths, chalcogens, halogens, noble gases  S Explain, using the periodic table, how and why elements combine in specific ratios to form compounds. Include: ionic bonds, covalent bonds.  S Write formulas and names of binary ionic  compounds. Include: IUPAC guidelines and rationale for their use.  S Write formulas and names for covalent compounds using prefixes. Include: mono, di, tri, tetra

11 Grade 10 Science Cluster 3  S Investigate and describe qualitatively Newton’s Third Law. Examples: balloon car, rockets, head-on collision.  S Define momentum and impulse and qualitatively relate impulse to change in momentum for everyday situations. Include: car collisions, bumpers, restraints, air bags.  S Investigate the conservation of energy in a motor vehicle collision. Include: kinetic energy, potential energy, sound  S Investigate conditions that illustrate the effects of friction on motion. Include: weather conditions, vehicles

12 Culturally Responsive Teaching Context-Based Teaching Inquiry-Based Teaching Problem-Based Learning Language-Based Education Community-School LinksUnits of Historical Representation Teaching for Socio- Political Action Place-Based Education Tensions in Curriculum Outcomes-Based Assessment Science and Mathematics Education for the 21 st Century Sustainability Education Career Education Environmental Education Constructivist Pedagogy Universal Design Messages in MB Education

13 Re-Imaging SCience Education  Google Search: Science Textbooks

14 Orientations to Curriculum: Voices  Development of cognitive processes – development of intellectual capacity and processes of inquiry  Academic rationalism – knowledge and skill acquisition specific for further academic study  Personal Relevance – intrinsic interest in the world around and students’ future benefit  Social Relevance – serving through action the social outcomes of importance to society and humanity as a whole  Curriculum as a technology in achieving standardized curriculum outcomes

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16 Critical Incidents: CRYSTAL  Messages in science and mathematics education  “Emerging Trends in Science Education”  (1) Views from SYs & MYs teacher candidates  (2) Views from northern & MB MYs students  (3) Views from teachers of science  (4) Views from northern elders and parents

17 Ideal Science Teaching The focus is on biomagnification. Well not really learning the concept but more about its cause and effect. Students would look (using YouTube) at the nesting of peregrine falcons on the Radisson Hotel. We’d talk about how the peregrine population was listed as critically endangered and why this occurred because of pesticide use. We’d look at how it accumulates and its consequence on peregrine population. I would focus on what processes, both social and political, have caused banning of some pesticides and the positive consequence of this on raptor populations. I want them to know this occurred as a consequence of our actions. We have the ability to cause good and bad.

18 Elliot Eisner’s Orientations to Curriculum  Development of cognitive processes – development of intellectual capacity and processes of inquiry  Academic rationalism – knowledge and skill acquisition specific for further academic study  Personal Relevance – intrinsic interest in the world around  Social Relevance – serving through action the social outcomes of importance to society and humanity as a whole  Curriculum as a technology in achieving standardized curriculum outcomes

19 Practicum Teaching It was interesting how this lesson played out. The students were fascinated with the visual account of the nesting peregrines, especially that the weather was still quite harsh when they were hatchlings and they were on these simple ledges. We focused mainly on how bioaccumulation occurs. I didn’t get to the political events that caused these changes. It was made clear to me by my collaborating teacher that such things were not that important and it wouldn’t be on the test. Students just needed to understand the process.

20 Teaching I haven’t been teaching Grade 10, but in Grade 8 & 9. I can’t say that that my [initial] views of what I would like it to be like have come close to being a reality. There are some times those conversations are around issues like that, but it’s not planned. Mainly we’re working through what is expected. There’s much to cover and you know that your students are moving on next year to [high school]. Am I happy about it? No. Am I into changing it? No. But - I am aware that it’s not the way I want it or would like it.

21 Our SYs Teacher Candidates ( ) OrientationStart of Teacher Education After First Practicum Teachers (Year 1 & 2) Cognitive Processes1166 Academic Rationalism Personal Relevance34147 Social Relevance3867 Curriculum as Technology Total828041

22 Our MYs Teacher Candidates ( ) OrientationStart of Teacher Education After Practicum Teachers (Year 1 & 2) Cognitive Processes686 Academic Rationalism Personal Relevance Social Relevance71114 Curriculum as Technology 3621 Total

23 Students in Grade 10: Why Study Chemistry?  1440 students asked why they chose to study chemistry in Grade 11  65 classrooms,16 schools, 44 teachers  27 students mentioned personal interest  1367 chose chemistry because:  Required in future program of study  Expected because it was an academic subject  Keeping options open

24 Northern Students-MB School Division  Grade 5-8 students  3 schools in Nunavut, 2 schools in rural MB  72 northern students, 102 rural MB students  When was the last time you felt successful in science?  2 northern students made mention of ‘grades’- external sources of success  95 rural students made mention of external sources of success – marks, grades and awards

25 Life Stories of Chemistry Teachers Despite 5 years of professional development focused on teaching for learning, qualitative data show... Teachers still feel that they have a long way to go to achieve a truly learner focused classroom practice that is more constructivist and humanistic in nature….. Constraint – content acquisition and time 25

26 It is like for many years we have watched this thing you call ‘education’ occur in our town. I know there is much that can occur in the school that is good, but it does not make a person wise. In our culture there is nothing more important than the learning that makes a person wise. The main thing the southern culture wants from school is ‘head knowledge’. That is what it has always emphasized. I do not know why. It intrigues me. Your focus is mainly on the gaining of a kind of knowledge that seems to have little value in understanding the world and to make us wise people. I see it has some value, but maybe this value is only to make someone seem better than another. I think that schools can become focused on this. I think this is why many of us in the past questioned the very purpose of schools. I notice now, we are being asked our stories more these days, just like you are asking now. People from the south seek our understanding, not just about the natural world but how we can make the future better, even in the schools. It is like this book knowledge has not been the only important thing because it does not have answers for the things that are really important.

27 I remember days at school where I felt all I was doing was numbers, letters and words, things I was not that used to. If it wasn’t from a textbook, it was from a worksheet. And one sheet was followed by another and one page was followed by another. I recall days where it seemed like me, alone, with just words and numbers and I was supposed to be able to something with all of these words and numbers. I know that this was the time I did not feel like I was any good at schooling. I say schooling, because I know now that not being very good at schooling was what made me think I was no good at school. I understand that now, but I did not understand that then. I understand now, that success was all about how well I could use the numbers and words. Do this with them, that with them. That was the schooling part that I was no good at. I shouldn’t say no good at it because I could do some of it, but not as fluently as some of the others in the class. We supposedly had good teachers, but I don’t think so. One teacher was very nice but the focus was all about us working alone with numbers and letters and how well we did with these was used to find out if we were good students..I know about this time I decided I wasn’t a good learner. I fell behind and at the same time I was deciding I wasn’t a good learner, the teachers were coming to the same judgment about me. I figured out when I was in my early 20s that I was very smart, but I just hadn’t been good at one part of schooling. Once I got that in my head, it wasn’t that difficult to understand that I could have been better at school if schooling asked more of me than to just work with letters and numbers. I used that as a motivation to learn those things that, I believe, are still what determines if young children will be successful at school. As a teacher, it is not easy to shift away from that emphasis. It is important, but it can’t be the only measure of success.

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29 Who’s Behind the Wheel?  What are the dominating voices?  Aikenhead – the ‘false crisis’ in science (and mathematics) education – ‘academically’ driven – not necessarily by academics  Fensham – change the ‘drivers’  Science (and mathematics) education respected, but not enjoyed  Largely, a focus on the training of a select few instead of an education for all –  Emerging trends towards social and personal relevance, but ‘academic’ science and mathematics have negated such influence  ‘Trend’ is ‘conscious awareness’ of the need for a different driver – can we continue to be driven by this voice?

30 Considerations  Canada and Manitoba  Arguably, most accessible public education in the world  Arguably, the most qualified teachers in the world  Arguably, the best supported education in the world  Message that dominates and likely to dominate ‘our curriculum’, even moreso, is academic  It’s result is the marginalization of many for the sake of a few  Critical time in MB education – be obtuse!


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