We will engage learners through:
- Student voice & choice
- Ownership of learning
- Reflecting on their role as a learner
- Involving them in the assessment process (beginning to end)
It is apparent in this goal that I am working in a school culture that is focused on the student and their growth as learners, but also as individuals. It can be extremely easy to lose sight of the big picture in high school, when we get bogged down in all of the curriculum outcomes we need to cover, but we need to continually reflect on the experience we are giving our students. Are we only preparing them intellectually in our course material or to become contributing members of society as well?
When I heard about this goal, I immediately felt energized and excited for the semester to come. For my PSIII Inquiry Project, I plan to look at how the use of blogging in the CHEM 20 classroom can breakdown the classroom walls and engage students in outcomes that are often pushed aside (the Science, Technology and Society (STS) outcomes) to give additional time for the knowledge and skill outcomes. Yesterday afternoon I had a discussion with the other CHEM 20 teacher and told her about my plans to blog with my students to encourage critical thinking and professional dialogue concerning scientific research that is happening in the real world. When we become so focused on the knowledge and skill outcomes and forget to talk about the implications of the science that surrounds us in our day-to-day lives, we are providing a disservice to our students.
Through the use of blogging, between our two CHEM 20 classes (and with other CHEM 20 & 30 classes) we will promote student engagement in real world applications of science. At the end of my course, I know that they need to have an understanding of the various concepts we will discuss to move onto CHEM 30, but this is not enough. I will deem the semester a success if, at the end, each of my students has grown enough so that I can say each of my students has developed a deeper understanding of how to critically evaluate scientific research and media stories, form their own opinion and engage in professional dialogue with others. Who do you want on your team:
Someone that can differentiate between a tetrahedral and trigonal pyramidal shape or someone that can form an educated opinion and articulate that opinion in a professional manner?
Every student has the ability to develop into a critical thinker; it is our job to foster a learning environment that allows them to grow. Before students come through your door next week ask yourself, “How will my students grow this year?”
Until next time,