Loving Critique

Last week, I was working on my final paper for Concepts and Issues in Social Science Research, I used Culturally Sustaining Theory as a theory of my proposal.

According to Paris and Alim (2014), students have many differences due to their cultures, histories, and backgrounds. In order to equity in the learning environment, existing pedagogies offered the activities which designed as relevant for the students’ cultures. However, learners might need to practice their own cultures as well as school cultures. In this way, they could sustain their cultures as well as the activities of the school culture. In order to do that, they asserted that pedagogies could be adapted as going with the flow which means multicultural and multilinguistic learning environment.

 

 

While I was working on the theory, “loving critique” grabbed my attention. They needed to explain why existing pedagogies have a perception as if people of color are problematic. Instead, the pedagogies are a lack of embracing the differences. According to them,

We orient our critique by building on the crucial asset-based pedagogical work of the past and use loving critique to denote the position of deep respect from which we problematize and extend three areas of scholarship and practice:

1.Previous conceptualizations of asset pedagogies

2. Asset pedagogies that foreground the heritage practices of communities of color without taking into account contemporary/evolving community practices

3. Asset pedagogies that do not critically contend with problematic elements expressed in some youth cultural practices.

 

I agree with Paris and Alim. The problem is the existing approaches, stereotypes, and bias. Instead, loving critique is the way of constructing bridges between the differences, understanding and respecting. We are all the parts of the same world.

 

Reference

Paris, D., & Alim, H. S. (2014). What are we seeking to sustain through culturally sustaining pedagogy? A loving critique forward. Harvard Educational Review, 84(1), 85–100.

Indigenous knowledge in Science

Have you ever heard about indigenous knowledge? I had not heard before Elizabeth’s teaching. She designed a wonderful lesson plan for us and shared her information with us:

Indigenous knowledge in (geo)science education: Toward identity development and practices of respect

We had an activity related to creating a seasonal calendar. It was interesting because we had identities of some indigenous people.

I was from Aboriginal Australians. I saw that they have different weather patterns, different living conditions, different illnesses, different challenges from me. 

 

It is very important that if we have a student in our classroom who is indigenous, we should keep doing science with them. We just be careful about using our words because they might be sensitive or have difficulty to understand the other worlds. For example, Aboriginal Australians live their summer during January-March season. They might not understand us if we generally talk about the winter season without consider their weather pattern. It is the same for foods, clothing, and other things.

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth. I learned with you.

Fireworks in the Brain

Do you like to play music? If you can, you are so lucky. The reason is that while you are playing the music, your brain functions work in the whole parts of the brain like there are fireworks going off all over the brain. Let’s look at this video.

 

Amazing, right?

According to news of the University of South Carolina,

We are broadly interested in the impact of music training on cognitive, socio-emotional and brain development of children,” said Assal Habibi, the study’s lead author and a senior research associate at the BCI in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. “These results reflect that children with music training, compared with the two other comparison groups, were more accurate in processing sound.

Within two years of the study, the neuroscientists found the auditory systems of children in the music program were maturing faster in them than in the other children. The fine-tuning of their auditory pathway could accelerate their development of language and reading, as well as other abilities – a potential effect which the scientists are continuing to study.

 

The works of the brain are amazing. We need to use and improve it. Especially, our kids’ childhood is so valuable. Let’s look for evaluate it.

 

References

Collins, A. (2014). TED-Ed: How playing an instrument benefits your brain. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/anita_collins_how_playing_an_instrument_benefits_your_brain?language=en#t-18329

Gersema, E, (2016). Children’s brains develop faster with music training. Retrieved from https://news.usc.edu/102681/childrens-brains-develop-faster-with-music-training/

 

Is there a real you?

Today, while I was searching on the internet, I found the video of Julian Baggini called “Is there a real you?”. The video grabbed my attention because I saw myself as a mom, a wife, a graduate student, a daughter, a sister, etc. Is that a real me?

 

 

It was an interesting video because he mentioned that sometimes we see some illusions which mean objects no really exist, but we see them as if they are real. Likely, is it the same for us?

We also have some positions in our lives in the school, in our homes, in the shopping, etc. In these places, is there a real us?

 

According to Tan and Barton (2008), people can have multiple identities that fluent depending on their social environments.

For example, one of the student might reflect “shy” identity in the whole group discussion, she/he can reflect “active participant” in the small group.

One of the student might be “outsider” at the first days of the school, but he/she can evolve his/her identity as “leader” at the end of the year.

What should we do?

According to Lee (2013), “if teachers can support student science discourse (i.e., talk and behavior) use in classrooms, this assists in developing their academic identities in science and mastery of scientific literacy” (p. 36).

Yes, teachers have an important role in order to encourage students to participate and to evolve their identities in order to be successful.

Students might have a scientist identity, who knows? Just, support them to show.

 

 

 

References

Baggini, J. (2011). TED Talks: Is there a real you? Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/julian_baggini_is_there_a_real_you#t-473152

Lee, Y.-J. (2012). Identity-based research in science education. In Second International Handbook of Science Education (pp. 35–45).

Tan, E., & Barton, A. C. (2008). Unpacking science for all through the lens of identities-in-practice: The stories of Amelia and Ginny. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 3(1), 43–71. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11422-007-9076-7

 

 

Respect in Science

This term, I had a chance to design a lesson plan. I could choose any topic related to science teaching that I chose “Respect in Science”. The first reason was that I really wondered about the topic because respect is well-known but hardly practiced in our relationships. After I read the chapter of Slaton and Barton (2012) in the Second International Handbook of Science Education, I saw how crucial constructing a classroom environment where learners and teacher could practice respect while learning science.

 

From the book, I got some notes to share:

  • Practices of respect are context-specific actions individuals take to publicly appreciate or develop understandings of others and their value” (p. 516). I think this is a clear definition of respect. We need to pay attention to learn and teach to our kids and/or students to listen to others, to appreciate others’ values, to be careful to others’ vulnerability.
  • Teachers can create such third spaces that value multiple perspectives and experiences by activity leveraging students’ funds of knowledge, sense of place, and ways of knowing “(p. 517). Each student is unique who has a different culture, backgrounds, understandings. Learning environments should welcome all differences.
  • Respect as practice helps to make teachers more accessible to students, adopt teaching practices that include listening to students and reconceptualize education as collaborative work” (p. 517). Teachers can share the authority in doing science where students can share what they think while the rest of them can listen. Moreover, teachers can encourage students to be involved in the practices, elicit students’ thinkings, valuing students’ response even if they are wrong.

In order to create a respectful learning environment, it is important that the teacher and students should have strong relationships. Rita Pierson perfectly talked about how important relationship is in the learning environment. She says that “No significant learning can occur without significant relationships.” I think she is right. Let’s watch her talk…

 

 

References

Slaton, A., & Barton, A. C. (2012). Respect and science learning. In B. J. Fraser, K. G. Tobin, & C. J. McRobbie (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Science Education (pp. 513–525). London, New York: Springer.

Rita Pierson. (2013). TED Talks Education: Every kid needs a champion. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/rita_pierson_every_kid_needs_a_champion?language=en

 

Think broader with Collaboration

Whenever I work with my friends, I feel more productive and comfortable. Sometimes, I can only see in my perspective, but in the group discussions, each of us has a different point of views. When we are getting together, all of us compose a bigger mind which means collaboration in problem-solving helps to think in a multi-perspective.

 

 

Last week, I started to write about my final project for the course about learning theories. In this project, I need to choose a theory with its relationship between the other theories. Then, I will find an activity and examine this activity in the aspect of the theory which I will choose.

For this activity, I chose a video (I attached below). In this video, two students are trying to solve a complex mathematics question.

 

 

In this video, they were working on the repeated addition to multiply mixed numbers. In this conversation, whenever one of them felt confused with the solving pathway, her partner explained in another way. It is obvious that each of them saw the problem in different aspects, but their brainstorming on the problem helped to solve this problem easier.

I will analyze this video in ‘Distributed Cognition Theory‘ perspective. According to this theory, each participant has many differences in their backgrounds, capacities, understanding, or psychological conditions. Their diversities bring different capacities so while working on the task, participants take the responsibilities according to their capacities. Experts can take more complex duties whereas novices take the basic parts but they are altogether contributing to the task.

I think that group’s interconnected mind is more capable than individual’s capacity. In this way, they can solve the more complex tasks or hypothesis easily. I believe that collaboration helps to improve many of the skills like reasoning, problem-solving and communicating. In addition, participants can feel more comfortable in this interaction environment, like me, because learners have many alternative approaches their around so whenever they feel confused, other members of this group can be a helper. For this reason, I think that in learning environments, collaboration should be encouraged to the learners. Then, I believe, they will be more productive in this interaction which brings more success.

Neural Networks

Past week we watched a very entertaining animation movie at home. The kids series “Story Bots”  cover a different story answering basic questions that would come to a curious mind on different topics in each episode. How do ears hear? How do ears work? What is electricity? These are just a few of many interesting questions answered in the animations in a fun way.

 

The episode we watched was explaining how the computers work. It starts with a very simple example as the word entry “cat” and shows what happens after the enter key is pressed. That signal (input) is transferred into codes ( binary codes, 0 and 1 ) and that code is sent to the processor, processor checks for the corresponding command and sends the results (output) again in binary codes. Kids were really enjoyed while they learned those basics, at least they heard those terms for the first time. On the other side, that video reminded me of an article I have read which was about deep learning, neural networks, and artificial intelligence.

 

 

 

According to Hof (n.d.), neural networks are computer simulations of the human brain. In the brain, the neurons have the role of carrying the impulse and response to and from the brain where the impulse message is interpreted into a meaning and subsequently that meaning is transferred into a response signal. Similar to this pathway, there are program maps like neurons in which numerical values consisting of zeros and ones only (binary codes) have a corresponding meaning as a response. The neural network recognizes the objects and visualizes them in a digital format. This method is applied in the complex analysis of certain data. For instance, Siri, hand-writing, face recognition technologies are the commonly known technologies for today. This is the field of Deep learning which is an advanced implementation of the neural networks, Here, a huge amount of data is processed in multiple layers which provides processing big amount of data simultaneously. 

 

 

The developers are working on an artificial intelligence which is aimed to be an intelligence ‘like-brain’. Despite the fact that the neural network is the basic format of the brain, virtual intelligence is still far from the excellent design of the human capacity. For example, deep learning model is developed to better process data in multilayers to recognize the inputs correctly Although this model helps to get more reliable data processing results, it still lacks the human brains’ performance.

 

 

References

Hof, R. D. (n.d.). Deep learning. Retrieved from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/513696/deep-learning/

Science in the Kitchen

 

This week, I would like to talk about something which I am sure is common to everyone, bread. I am not sure how special it is in other countries but in my country, bread has a different meaning. There is always bread on our tables for every meal during the day. It is taken as the blessing of God, therefore it is sacred such that most of the people do not waste any little piece of bread.

At home, most of the time, I bake my own bread. Bread making is a kind of therapy for me. I feel good while touching, shaping, and baking the dough. I started baking my own bread after watching this video; Tartine Bread.

 

 

 

Nice video, isn’t it? In the video, the young lady shows the starter which I prepared at home myself. The sourdough starter is a kind of yeast which provides to fermentate the dough.

 

The sourdough starter

 

Most bread types have a kind of yeast. Now, let’s have a look at how yeast works from the lens of science as explained in the video below.

 

 

This is a very clear explanation for fermentation.

In this process, the fungus grows by releasing carbon dioxide. This process is called anaerobic respiration. In general, anaerobic respiration proceeds in the absence of oxygen which is used by organisms to produce energy. In animals, the glucose is converted into lactic acid (or lactate). In plants and yeasts, the pyruvate is converted into ethanol and carbon dioxide. This gas emission provides rising of our bakeries.

 

This is my homemade bread

 

 

This is a very simple process which happens continuously in every moment. Most of the time, we are not aware of the scientific events around us, in our kitchens, on our dinner tables. Indeed, we are in the middle of science. All we need to do is trying to catch them through the lens of science. At home, I try engaging my kids with what I am doing in the kitchen, or elsewhere as much as possible. In this way, I believe that they can observe science in whole parts of their lives.

 

Observation vs Inference

Last week, we had wonderful moments at the World of Inquiry School. We were given some animals’ skulls and had an opportunity to look at them closely. At the start, I had no idea about what animals they were because it was the first time I had ever touched a skull! We tried to guess by looking at their qualities like size, shape, front teeth, etc.

                                            Some animal skulls we examined

 

One point we missed was that tooth shape is the biggest clue for an animal’s identity because teeth differ according to an animals’ diet. Our skulls’ teeth were called choppers by Dr. Van Neil, so it was said to be a herbivore. The other clue was its’ size; it was tiny so it should belong to a small animal. Next, we looked at other features like the flat head. Then, aha! We discovered it was a little muskrat!!

                                                       A little muskrat 

 

What is Scientific Inquiry?

Lederman and Lederman (2012) define scientific inquiry (SI) as methodical skills to find answers to scientists’ questions; these are observing, inferring, classifying, predicting, measuring, questioning, interpreting, and analyzing data. With this activity, we could try to identify the animal with scientific inquiry through these practices.

These terms seem too similar to each other. For example, are observing and inferring the same? We looked at the same skulls and tried to predict what they were. Observation and inference are sometimes thought to be the same but, no, they different. Lederman and Lederman (2012) also mention that there is a distinction between observation and inference. Observation is the general overview about the undefined things with our sense. On the other hand, inference is giving meaning to what we observe with our senses.

Observations and inferences are both important for science. There are many many things happening around us now. The observation helps us ‘to see’ them. The falling leaves, the thunder, the breath in-and-out, the digesting, the touching… Observation is a good start to realize these events which become meaningful. Then, we can try to understand what is going on by using our observations and background knowledge. Our thinking is evolving through the scientific way with inquiry. If you can do it, science will welcome you. All we need to start to see; the life and the world.

 

 

 

Reference

Lederman, N. G., & Lederman, J. S. (2012). Nature of scientific knowledge and scientific inquiry: Building instructional capacity through professional development. In B. J. Fraser, G. Tobin, K, & C. J. McRobbie (Eds.), Second International Handbook of Science Education (pp. 335–359). London. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-9041-7

Curiosity is the Keyword

Everyone has a curiosity about everything. Of course, it changes to the personality but the interesting point is that the kids’ curiosity is very special from ours. They can ask many many questions about everything. ‘Why our brains are in our head?’, ‘Why people have 2 legs instead of 4?’, ‘why my daddy is taller than my mom? (really, why?!). Sometimes, the answers are not easy, you have to think like a kid and answer with clear explanations.

I got two little kids at home, my son is 5, my daughter is 3. We got many many questions every day. For example, yesterday, my daughter was cutting the papers with the scissors. Of course, I warned her like every mom, ‘Be careful! You may hurt your fingers.’. Then, she asked me ‘What happens if I cut my fingers? What can I do or not without my fingers?’ That was our yesterday’s topic. ‘Mom, I could not open the box, I could not eat, I could not draw a picture, I could not go to the school (yes, you can!).

 

                 

My kids were exploring the Rochester Museum & Science Center

 

In this week, I read a paper of National Research Council. According to NRC (2012), the kids, especially kindergarten level kids’ the way of thinking about the world is greater than the expectations. I really believe that claim because I am testing every day. They can ready to learn the world by observing, inferring, testing with their imagination and creativity. They have a real curiosity about everything. I believe that the curiosity is the keyword to their world. By this way, they are acting like a scientist which most of us lost that special ability.

In the same reading, it is suggested that keep the kids ask a question! It is really important for keeping alive such special abilities before losing them. We need to encourage them asking questions and patiently answer them as much as possible. If you can not, you can search with them. You will see how enjoyable learning with kids…

Enjoy

 

 

Reference

National Research Council. (2012). Guiding assumptions and organization of the framework. In A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (pp. 23–37). Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.: National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/13165