Sunday, May 15, 2016

Talking in class...

In the large scale research done by Ted Bredderman in the 1980's: The Effects of Activity-Based Elementary Science Programs on Student Outcomes and Classroom Practices: A Meta Analysis of Controlled Studies one the the many points for comparison and analysis concerned the amount of time spent talking in class, either by the teacher or by students. The assumption was perhaps that time spent talking (a thing that could be easily observed and measured by researchers) was probably time spent not doing, and if the initiative in science education was to change learning so that it was active instead of passive, the amount of time spent verbally engaged indicated that either the old ways were still in play, or the hands-on approach that the National Science Foundation was hoping to encourage was  beginning to take root.

Bredderman and others distinguished between knowledge of facts and theory and understanding of the scientific process, and the NSF at the time was concerned that students did not understand scientific process and methodology. No doubt, the NSF has the same concerns today.

The interesting thing is that if you better understand the process of science, you can better intuit the right answer on standardized tests. If you are oblivious to science process, you are unlikely to come up with correct answers in standardized tests unless you have covered the exact material in class. Students in science continue to be fed a diet of facts and theories that leave them disengaged and uninspired, whereas engagement in science process builds the possibility of further engagement.  It is funny how so many years can pass with some things remaining exactly the same. Next week we will have a visitor on the Clear Spring School campus who will show kids how to blow things up. OK?

In the photo above, you can see my steady progress making my first ukulele. The finger board and bridge have been shaped and sanded, and the finger board has been glued in place. The bridge will be glued down after the body and neck have been finished.

Today I get no shop time. I will help others to set up tents for the Books in Bloom literary festival, and then pick up author Laura Lippman at the airport to bring her just in time for her presentation at 3 PM. At 5 I assist others in taking down tents. At 6 PM, I've invited Brian Biggs, author/illustrator to see my box guitars. He plays cigar box guitars and ukuleles so we have a thing or two in common.

Make, fix, create, and extend to others the chance of learning likewise.

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