would you characterize your general approach to teaching science?
I think that if
children feel that science is something that only happens in classrooms,
then it doesn't become as valuable for them. But if they can see that
it is something that permeates their lives, then they are making the
connections I want children to make. My students in the primary grades
were always coming back and telling me about trees they had observed
on the weekend, or what was happening in the tree in their yard. They
connected it to what was happening in the tree in their school. I think
it's much easier for students to feel something is worthwhile if it
connects to other interests that they have in life.
is one of the challenges you face in the classroom?
I think very often
as teachers we're used to manipulating students to say what we want
them to say, either by framing the questions in a very narrow way or
by giving them cues or signals about what we want them to say. If you're
a good teacher you are always leading, but you have to look like you're
not. You can feed the kids the answers and it looks like they've got
it. Or, there's another way of teaching in which you're still the leader,
but you wait for them to come up with the questions and answers. It's
much harder to actually sit back and listen to what the kids want to