Hi there tout la gang,

We don't have much to say about research in practice at the Café right now

but we are talking policy and practice over here now: Literacy Enquirers.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

the more fun part

I have just found, and really enjoyed reading, Teaching Adventures in the Delta. In this blog, Eddie describes his life as an eighth-grade science teacher in Lake Village, Arkansas. It seems that he is new to this gig and is exploring the possibilities ~ he talks about inquiry-based approaches, standardized testing, setting goals and creating a curriculum.

The qualitative part of the big goal is the more fun part ~ we get to say what the students will actually get out of "8th grade science." Part of putting this together was creating "essential understandings" for our subject matter. "Essential understandings" are the key points/questions a subject asks in order to carry out its method of inquiry. To put it a better way, "what are the questions that this field asks?" and "what is the whole point of this field?" Not to brag, but for once the philosophy major had a direct application to my work. The idea behind this part of the big goal is that if we get our students to understand the "essential understandings," then they'll have an easier time understanding the reason behind why we are learning the subject matter of "8th grade science" or any other subject. Some of mine are:
  • Science gives us a way to support what we believe with good evidence. If other good evidence comes along that goes against what we believe, we have to change our minds.
  • Structure determines function (what something is made of determines how it works)
  • How can I understand the world through my 5 senses and my brain?
  • What is the pattern that is developing?
  • Given these results, what is going to happen next?

That Eddie sounds like a pretty smart cookie.

The fun part for me is watching this story unfold and being reminded how fresh and exciting this teaching thing can be. He writes in a way that makes you really feel you are right there in the Delta embarking on an adventure.

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