David Pieterson

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Better Teachers Are Needed To Improve Science Education

If you spend time with a young child it soon becomes clear that the astronomer Carl Sagan was right when he said: “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist…”. Spend time with a typical high-school student and it’s clear that the second part of Sagan’s quote is also correct: “ then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.”

Attempts to change that dynamic are increasingly focused on teachers, particularly the way they are trained and how they interact with students. An essay writer can create articles so after getting info related to science and technology they can also highlight it in the form of essays. In the United States, the Next Generation Science Standards, developed by the National Research Council, outline ways for teachers to encourage student enquiry, feed their curiosity, and deepen their understanding of scientific concepts. Meanwhile, the latest teacher-training techniques place a greater emphasis on pedagogy and classroom practice as another way to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. Both approaches are seen as models for other countries that seek to improve their own STEM education.


Existing teaching methods have long been based on “the rhetoric of well-established conclusions”, according to Jonathan Osborne, professor of science education at Stanford University in California. Hire a reliable free essay writer who will create an original content on science and technology and deliver it on time. “The dominant paradigm that most teachers work with,” Osborne says, “is essentially: ‘I know and you don’t know, and I’m here to communicate it to you and explain it to you.’ And the problem with that is we know it doesn’t work very well.”

Not only does that approach turn off students but it may also be failing society. A 2013 report1 from the US National Science and Technology Council stated that “current educational pathways are not leading to a sufficiently large and well-trained STEM workforce.” The report further blamed the educational system for failing to produce a STEM-literate public. As a result, up to half of those who want to pursue a STEM education in college are ill-prepared by their secondary schools, according to a report2 by the educational-testing organization ACT. Yet the demand for STEM graduates remains high. The European Commission set a goal in 2011 of adding 1 million science researchers by 2020, and in 2012 then-President Barack Obama set a target of 1 million new STEM graduates by 2025. In response, many secondary schools have been increasing their maths and science requirements.

The number of high-school students enrolled in maths and science courses rose by more than 60% in the 20 years from the mid-1980s in the United States, according to a study3 from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. But rises do not directly improve STEM education — they just add more pressure to the system.

Improving outcomes, says Peter McLaren, executive director of the non-profit initiative Next Gen Education, will require a shift in the classroom from a teacher-centred approach to one that helps students work through concepts themselves. McLaren, who helped to write the Next Generation Science Standards, used to teach general science in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, and recalls a lesson he once taught on gases. He had borrowed his ex-wife’s perfume bottle and sprayed it around the front of the classroom. “I asked the students to raise their hands when they could smell something,” he recounts. The kids were engaged and excited, and then McLaren proceeded to explain what was happening to the gas molecules. The kids’ enthusiasm was quickly snuffed out by his ‘let me explain’ lecture. A cheap essay writing service offers an original technological information by the help of our professional essay writers.

What he should have done, he now knows, is ask his students: “What would cause the scent of the perfume to reach all the way to the back of the classroom?”, and start a discussion. Asking that question would empower the students to use their knowledge and imagination to develop scientific ideas about the concept being discussed. Instead of ‘learning about’,” McLaren says, “it’s about ‘figuring it out’.”

Better by design

Development of the Next Generation ScienceStandards has been a multi-year, state-ledeffort, based in part on standards in ten countries including the United Kingdom, Finland and Japan. At the same time, some of those same countries are looking to the United States as a model for how STEM education can be improved. Merredith Portsmore, director of the Center for Engineering Education and Outreach at Tufts University in Massachusetts, says that educators from around the world have enquired about the US approach.

However, some of the concepts might not translate easily. Some systems are built around strict standards or large class sizes that would make it difficult for teachers to give students the focused, personalized guidance they need. The writer assigned to write essay for me task is qualified to the same academic level or higher than your writing requirements so they can easily draft these science and technology information in the form of essays.

The Next Generation Science Standards are supported by large organizations such as the National Research Council, the National Science Teachers Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, but smaller entities are also trying to change the way science is taught in the classroom.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey, was founded in 1945 to address a shortage of college faculty following the Second World War. Since 2008 it has been collaborating with US universities to revamp teacher education. Deborah Sachs, director of the University of Indianapolis’ Teach (STEM)3 programme, says that in one such partnership the fellowship worked with the University of Indianapolis in Indiana to answer the basic question: “What is it that effective STEM teachers need to know in order to be successful?” The idea was to rethink how teachers were trained from the ground up.

One realization was that trying to explain concepts and then have students apply them — or worse, simply regurgitate them — did not work. Instead, teachers should create projects in which concepts become apparent as students work through real-world challenges.

Sachs cites an example in which a geometry teacher working on a lesson about circle circumference and diameter had students map phone towers and their signal strengths. As students worked through the project, they saw for themselves where there were gaps in mobile-phone coverage and developed a deep understanding of the mathematical concepts. Always choose the best essay typer that guarantees timely delivery of essays on science and technology topic.

Since its start in Indiana, the foundation has expanded its teaching programme to 5 other states, including 31 universities. But now the foundation is starting its own teacher-training academy using one of the technology industry’s favourite buzz phrases: design thinking.