With ongoing new discoveries and technological advances, the field of science is constantly evolving. For generations, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) classes focused on building students' knowledge through lectures and textbook study. This type of learning was designed to give students knowledge through facts, concepts and methods and then test their ability to memorize and apply the knowledge.
Through ongoing professional development, the science educators of today can use well-designed courses to teach scientific inquiry, creative thinking, and problem solving that enable students to gain and retain information better. Professional development for science teachers may include instruction on student inquiry, activities, research, evaluation and collaboration.
Science educators can use the following five tips to maximize learning for themselves and their students:
- Stimulate inquiry-based learning.
When teachers inquire, research, evaluate and draw conclusions, they gain a deeper understanding of the inquiry-based learning process. In turn, students gain knowledge as they pose questions through inquiry and find answers through research.
- Cultivate active engagement.
Students can better process and retain information when they are actively engaged in learning. Active engagement takes place when students do the following.
- Frame questions.
- Collect evidence through research and experiments.
- Evaluate the evidence to draw conclusions.
- Participate in other hands-on activities.
- Foster connection with others.
Teacher and student learning is enhanced when students connect and collaborate with others to find answers. Professional development sessions can be an opportunity for instructors to enhance their STEM knowledge. These sessions enable teachers to connect with colleagues, share practices and learn from one another.
- Make it interesting.
A professional development session for science teachers is most beneficial when it aligns with their standards and curriculum and when the sessions are relevant, engaging and insightful.
- Facilitate continued learning.
To be effective, professional development in science teaching should be a constant, career-related practice involving ongoing discussion and collaborative experiences throughout the school year. Support structures can be put into place to encourage science teachers' continued learning.
If you are interested in furthering your professional development in STEM and making a more meaningful impact on STEM learning, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction - Science Education may be a good choice.
The University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) offers an online M.Ed. in C&I -- Science Education. This non-thesis degree program provides teachers with opportunities to develop advanced teaching, research and leadership skills that align with the latest research and theories in science instruction.
The program uses proven teaching concepts based on inquiry, activity and student learning cycles. Ten science education courses prepare graduates to examine and adjust their own teaching methods:
- Effective Teaching and Learning for 21st Century Ec-12 Students.
- Advanced Teaching Models for Diverse Learners.
- Understanding and Designing Classroom Research.
- Implementing and Disseminating Classroom Research.
- Physical Science - Properties and Changes in Matter.
- Physical Science - Force and Energy.
- Earth Science - Structures, Movement, and Changes in Earth and Space.
- Earth Science - Water Properties, Distribution, the Water Cycle, and Weather.
- Life Science - Unity and Diversity of Life and Life Processes.
- Life Science - Cycles in Nature, Adaptations, and Environmental Science.
A blend of theoretical and practical courses make up the M.Ed. in C&I -- Science Education at UTA.
If you wish to continue your STEM professional development and more effectively teach science in the classroom, a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction -- Science Education can help you reach your goals.
Sources:Nature.com: Why We Are Teaching Science Wrong, and How to Make It Right
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