Course Overview & Instructor's Lament

First of all, this course and all its materials exists on our Canvas webpage, so that students and others can gather materials, view the syllabus, panic about major assignments, and the like. All are welcome to take a look and see what the course, at least in terms of its organization and supporting materials.

In so many ways, this is the most important course that I teach. The stakes are high, because students enrolled in this course are taking in order to credential themselves to teach science -- and they're going to be teaching my own children and their generation. I care deeply about this, not simply because Anna or Grace might have one of my students as their teacher, but because I believe that education is one of the most important things we've invented in order to really help empower and shape lives, build a vibrant and democratic society, and basically help us figure out what we're doing and how to work together. Science education, in particular, is really pivotal in all this.

But here's the thing: I don't know what I'm doing. I'll willingly and adamantly admit that I don't really know how to teach. I know how I teach, and I know why I'm teaching that way, and I work really, really hard at this. And I continually work at it, because I know I don't know what I'm doing; I'm always trying to figure it out. I'm wary of any teacher who suggests that they do have it figured out. Maybe I'm just jealous, or maybe I'm skeptical in the same way I'd be skeptical of a scientist who'd suggest that there are no more interesting questions to ask.

So, I am supposed to teach how to teach, but I can't do that. I demonstrate a little about how I teach, and we tear that apart. And then we each try to figure out why we're teaching science, and then we figure out what we know about learning and teaching science, and then each student has the great responsibility to develop their own professional science teacher self. I ask students to understand their own teaching philosophy, reflect on their practice, understand what we currently know about science learning and science curriculum, and then wrap this all up into their own package. My hope is that the student of this course will continually re-create this package throughout their career, and put it into a practice of science teaching that represents themselves and their own classroom goals.

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