I have a confession. This is not my first ever blog post.
In order to explain the aforementioned I must also admit that I am not new to teaching, despite this blog being written in coordination with the pre-service teacher preparation program I have recently begun. I have considered myself a science educator, in the broad sense, for the last 8 years; with the last 4 being classroom based. My education and development as a teacher thus far has been completely experiential; so far I have not learned to teach in a lecture hall, rather I have learned to teach by teaching. I value this experience and I truly do believe that direct experience is one of the best modes to acquire understanding, however it can only take me so far. Truth be told, I believe I am missing some of the knowledge base that would lead me to a greater understanding of my own profession and practice.
This is also not my first foray into the realm of graduate studies, however it is the first exposure I will have to coursework strictly oriented towards teacher preparation. I consider myself a teacher already but believe that there is a great deal still that I have to learn. GetReal! Science was attractive to me because it focuses not only on “real science” but also “real teaching”. Like a “real-ception” where pre-service teachers are trained not only in reform-oriented, applied science education, but they also are exposed to working with students right from the beginning of the program. I am very excited to be beginning this summer with GetReal! Science, the Warner School, and to be able to take part in this blog.
As I mentioned earlier this is not my first time organizing a blog, it is however my first experience being a blog’s sole author. If you want to take a look at the first ever blog I was a part of you can find it here. It is a blog students and I put together to share gardening experiences with our sister school in Thailand. The process of starting this most current blog is very exciting to me. I am excited to be able to share my experiences as a student at Warner and the GetReal! Program. I am excited to be able to bounce my perceptions regarding science education off a larger professional community. As a young and fairly inexperienced teacher I have a number of beliefs regarding best practices in science education that live only in my mind, and having access to a sounding board for critical feedback is something I really value. What I am most excited for is to see how the shoes of a writer fit on me. I consider myself a teacher, a student, a husband, a friend, and a number of other titles and although I write in a number of different formats, for a number of different audiences, I have never considered myself a writer. I do not think one can have a blog without at least toying with the idea of being a writer. So I suppose it is time for this teacher to toy with writer shoes…
Dr. Luehmann asked a question in a recent blog post to the GetReal! Science blog, “What would it mean to blog about these ideas in order to promote a more real – more accurate – understanding of what science is as a way of knowing and being in and with our world?” I will let you take a look at the ideas she is referring to. I take that question to mean how can we, as science educators, utilize blogging to further our capabilities as agents of change within education and society?
We are currently reading Science Blogging The Essential Guide and I want to highlight some points that Christie Wilcox makes in her opening essay as I believe they help answer Dr. Luehmann’s question. Christie argues that, “Now, more than ever, science is fundamentally intertwined with national and political issues.” All while, “Former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott can call his four years of science and math in high school a waste of time…” It is a precipitous time we live in –also terribly exciting. A time where effective science education is not only necessary but also fundamental to our success as a nation. How can we expect to compete internationally when so many misconceptions regarding technology, climate science, bio-medical science, and genetics make their way into national debates and are regarded equally in the eyes of the public and national media?
Christie Wilcox continues later in her introduction, stating that the point of a science blog, “Is to get people talking about science, thinking about science, caring about science,” and that, “Science blogging is truly a noble pursuit because it seeks to inform and excite others.” I believe that a science education blog should be similar in intent, but not only to excite others about science. We need to get others excited about science education as well. We have a perception of the mad scientist making their discoveries alone in their basement laboratory. Of course no scientist works alone, and every great discovery is building on the research of others and integrates a numerous fields of inquiry. Scientists also work within the context of society. Their work is informed by the public and in turn influences how our culture changes. Educators are no different.
Just like the misconception regarding the mad scientist, schools are often regarded as closed systems, something that is simply not true. Students bring with them a number of concerns, influences, beliefs that influence their experiences in school. Parent interactions with teachers, and school leadership will shape dynamics as well. The community at large determines budgets, state and sometimes national curricula determine what is taught. The school is a wide open system and educators work within this greater context. We need to excite this greater community about how we teach science and how science is shaping our society. Blogging can be a great format through which to accomplish this.
I am really looking forward to sharing this experiment with you all. I am so excited to be gaining some effective education and perspective into my practice. I hope you all will find this blog to be informative, interesting, and something you look forward to reading.