Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I can't believe it's almost half over

Where has the time gone? I mean that both in a long term sense but also the short term sense because I'm writing this at 12:15 AM. Sorry!

So a lot of my desire to become a teacher comes from my past experiences tutoring. I get a kick out of seeing peers or mentees pondering a problem with furrowed eyebrows, biting their lip and tapping their pen. The best part is when they figure out the problem and hi-fives all around. However, I've found the whole process to be a heck of a lot more rewarding when they get there on their own power. What I'm trying to say is I really like how the readings this week both elucidated and affirmed some of my haphazard ventures into teaching techniques I've tried to employ. I also liked how the readings gave concrete steps and methods that promote inquiry based and argument driven learning. As with anything, forcing someone to defend their statement either exposes their wrongness or strengthens their convictions. Hopefully it doesn't strengthen their conviction to wrongness.

One thing that I haven't really thought about is peer review. I like how the readings fit nicely into the conversations that we've been having about possible "lab group meeting" type class periods. I guess I had always envisioned that with me as a teacher moderating, instead of having several groups or pairs of students reviewing, questioning, and arguing with each other over what pieces of data mean or what directions would be most profitable to pursue next. I think both of these aspects of education highlight one of the overarching themes of this class that science is a dynamic field, with new discoveries being made that constantly add to or challenge what we know-- or what we think we know.


  1. I was also taken off guard by peer review. I know that it is an integral part of publishing in the scientific community; however, in the scientific community the peers doing the reviewing are all very knowledgeable in the subject and can give applicable, appropriate criticism. What I wonder is whether or not school age peers can all be trusted to have a strong enough understanding of the material to provide accurate criticism to their peers. From personal experience being in classrooms as a student and as an observer, it usually ends up that about 1/3 of the class really knows the subject material, so the papers they critique will have effective comments, but papers that all of the other students critique will be lacking in useful criticism. I wonder how as a teacher we can prepare for this and avoid wasting our students' time.

  2. I find that peer review helps immensely. For students nothing excites like competition ,whether it be between yourself or with some classmates. You build a team atmosphere a if you don't win none of us do mentality. his paired with students investing in their own future is amazing to me. It's if we're honest the reason why allot of us succeed because we build the confidence in ourselves and he process with backing from our peers who are as if not more excited when we finally master that concept that's driven us crazy for the past two weeks ,class periods semesters etc.

    1. I agree with you that there is definitely a place for competition in the classroom. I have some fond memories of some pretty heated jeopardy games. I can also see how it would be really easy to misuse the advantages competition supplies and leave some students by the wayside. Maybe it's worth exploring ways where we can have winners without losers.