For ECS 350 we were given the text book Instruction: A Models Approach by Estes et al. This text lays the basis for everything from laying out a lesson to approaches to reach your students better. The first three chapters sets out how to best structure my class and what the needs of my students are going to be. The text then begins to discuss how to best begin structuring lessons to meet my student needs, the objectives required, and to do this at one of the higher levels of Bloom’s taxonomy.
One large thing I took away, which reconfirmed what I have been learning, is the importance of putting the curriculum within a context my students can understand. This made me think of Corey Ziegler today in my one class when he came in to share about some of the action projects he has done over the years in his biology classes. At one school he was at he developed a tree planting and paper recycling program with his class. They developed this program throughout the year and the students were responsible for researching things such as soil testing/ research, tree analysis, plant chemistry etc.; all topics in the science curriculum.
What was difference with this class was that the curriculum was placed in a context they could understand; they could see how the curriculum related to them. I think this was a perfect example of melding the objectives with the students needs, all things stressed by Estes et al.
Mr.Ziegler was also required to do something else that the text discusses and that was to chunk concepts together. He said it was hard work, and “at the end I was tired”, but that the students had a more meaningful experience as a result. Most people would say there is no way that you could teach a class this way and cover all the content in the curriculum. Mr.Ziegler actually showed by grouping concepts together and putting in a little extra work it could be done. He said he covered somewhere around 80% of the curriculum objectives in 70% of the time it would normally take.
It was nice to hear about theory in an actual practical setting and this has allowed me to gain some confidence that I may be able to do something of this magnitude when my time comes. Science education is shifting it seems and I am excited to be a part of that process; to be able to apply some of the theory I am reading in Estes et al. in a practical setting.