What's the Role of Science Teachers in the New Conceptual Economy?

In the new conceptual economy, what skills will students need to acquire to walk into professional settings and tackle complex problems? A recent podcast Innovation Skills for the 21st Century Workplace (BFM 89.9) details the mindset that contributes to success–the ability to continually learn and improve. And it’s striking how well the skills and qualities needed align with the types of skills and qualities that can be honed in a science classroom–communication, collaboration, and adaptability, among others.

Creatively Teach Creativity

What can science teachers do? Science evangelist Ainissa Ramirez writes frequently about these types of skills. In a recent blog, Ramirez talks about Encouraging the Einstein and Edison in Everyone. And she gives simple, inexpensive ideas that any teacher can use. She explains how to nurture divergent thinking within  students with an ordinary object like a key or a toothbrush. And, she recommends helping students learn to make connections among formerly unconnected topics. The takeaway? “Let’s be creative in the way that we teach children to be creative.”

Cultivate Collaboration

In Building Team Science, education professor Christine Royce gives ideas for team-building activities that have found their way into her classroom activities throughout the years:

Innovation in Action

So what does a classroom look like when innovative thinking is nurtured? Check out NSTA’s video series In the NGSS Classroom with Teacher Kristin Mayer. These 8 videos introduce science teachers to important strategies based on the Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The videos highlight the major shifts in science instruction, explore the new role of the teacher, and demonstrate new instructional strategies in the high school classroom. 

At NSTA we’re lucky to work with and learn from innovative teachers every day. If you’ve got ideas to share with us, please let us know!

The mission of NSTA is to promote excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all.

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