You’re gonna

My students did their micro teaching in my science methods class the other night. Many used phrases I have heard from other teachers and speakers that I find difficult. In setting up investigations for their science instruction, they tell students what to do using words, like “you’re gonna …” or ” what I want you to do is …” I espouse a student- centered approach to the teaching of science in the elementary classroom. Our goal to the greatest degree possible is to turn ownership of learning over to our students. Telling them what to do reinforces a teacher centered classroom. Students are left to the motivation of following orders or of pleasing the teacher. Both reinforce an external locus of control. A slight shift of wording turns the work back to the students. Try describing rather than directing – “Scientists work carefully as they experiment. Let’s talk about procedures we can use to do science carefully” – then go on to outline the procedures. In this case, students motivation is to conduct their work like a scientist. This simple framework can help shift an activity from an external locus of control to an internal. We had a great conversation after raising this observation. My preservice students took this to heart as they reflected on their experience.

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About wlindquist

I'm a career educator currently teaching pre-service teachers at Hamline University - Master of Arts in Teaching program. Interested in science education, inquiry-based science, and the intersection of science and literacy.
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