What’s Most Important For A Science Teacher? Knowledge of Science
How do we build a better science teacher? Writer Pat Wingert examines that question in a new article in Scientific American, and she comes up with an intriguing answer: experience and degrees don’t matter in the classroom nearly so much as mastery of science and math—and some plain old smarts:
“America’s economic crisis and China’s growing competitiveness have put new focus on math and science education, including how to improve the way programs train math and science teachers.
Research shows students of teachers who hold degrees in math and science score higher on math and science tests, yet only a minority of science and math teachers hold degrees in their subjects.
Teachers with math and science degrees are in high demand, but pilot programs and charter schools are learning better ways of recruiting and retaining highly skilled instructors.
Educators are also beginning to understand which techniques work best in the classroom, such as hands-on lessons, calling on students unexpectedly, and lessening the fear of errors.” Full article is behind a paywall, but you can read the first part of it here.
Another vote for the importance of content knowledge—not just among students but among teachers. Teachers who have pursued advanced studies in math and science are also likely to be more comfortable with these subjects, and to have a personal interest in them—as contrasted with the high proportion of elementary school teachers who say they fear or hate math.