I’m certainly not trained in any established pedagogical strategies, and thus am not a qualified teacher. I’m a biologist, which makes me an expert of sorts on one area of science but inept at teaching it!
Nevertheless, I was impressed by one teaching strategy: Inquiry-Based Learning:
Inquiry-based learning is an instructional method developed during the discovery learning movement of the 1960s. It was developed in response to a perceived failure of more traditional forms of instruction, where students were required simply to memorize fact laden instructional materials. Inquiry learning is a form of active learning, where progress is assessed by how well students develop experimental and analytical skills rather than how much knowledge they possess. [Links and citations in original.]
In this strategy, teachers become facilitators, and independent thinking and problem-solving become central. Of course that is the core principle of science that must be conveyed to students. But there’s another aspect of science education — surveying the vast body of knowledge of a field of science, including the history of the field and dominant conceptual frameworks, that you can’t teach by student-driven investigation.
A blend of the two, hands-on investigation and critical review of theory, are how scientists pursue discoveries, and how students should be taught science as well.
Okay, that’s my outsider’s view of science education — for more, check out this Downloadable book [.doc] about the teaching of science inquiry.
- Reference: National Science Education Standards (1996) National Academies Press.
And, for a related post, John Hawks has a post in the last few days on Evidence-based lecturing.