Too often science teachers focus on the information included in textbooks and a specific curriculum. But these resources do not include Exemplary Science Teaching. The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) continue to focus on conventional ideas and reforms, as well as the Big Ideas. Too little has been focused on strengthening pedagogy and how it improves student learning. The following ten characteristics outline exemplary science teaching and create an atmosphere in which students succeed:
- Work with students to include their interests and ideas.
- Encourage students to work in teams of two to four students to deal with questions.
- Focus on student questions and issues with activities that are local, current, and personal.
- Understand and respond to individual student interests, strengths, experiences, and needs.
- Focus on student understandings and use of information, ideas, and inquiry processes.
- Guide students working in groups with active and extended inquiries.
- Provide opportunities for discussion and debate among students.
- Share responsibilities for learning with students.
- Support classroom communities with cooperation and respect.
- Work with other teachers to enhance the whole school science program.
Robert E. Yager
Professor of Science Education
University of Iowa