Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Who's Teaching Your Kids Science?

There’s a big broo-ha-ha going on now about how we should teach science to our kids. Was going to post a blog this morning about it until I did a bit more poking around on the Web and found the following!  After recovering from my horror at the situation, I just had to post it today. So tomorrow I’ll tell you about the fuss around how to teach science.  

Seems American high school students scored 19th for science literacy among participating countries. Hmm, wonder what the test actually tests and how the countries at the top are teaching science.  Korean kids did best in 4th grade tests. Students in Singapore did best in middle school tests. And by high school, Swedish teens are on top.

You can take a look at the ranking. It’s pretty scary.  On the other hand, it’s not news. We’ve seen the headlines.  We knew we weren’t first. http://4brevard.com/choice/international-test-scores.htm  

Want to know why we aren’t first? Read the article in the link above and weep when you discover how little science the average science teacher—even high school teachers—in the U.S. know.  Maybe it’s not about how to teach science but getting folks who’ve taken science in college to teach it. Am I missing something here? Why would you hire a high school physics teacher if she hadn’t majored in physics in college?  Maybe we should pay her more so she won’t go off to a research job. Oh well, that’s another topic.

A few years ago, I actually had first hand experience with these bizarre hiring practices. I left college teaching a few years ago and returned to Colorado. Considered teaching high school history. After all I have a Ph.D. in history. I was told I wasn’t qualified even though I’d been teaching college freshmen for years. I didn’t have a high school certification. In order to teach high school history, I’d need to take the math qualifying exam. So a person with a Ph. D. in history isn’t qualified to teach history without math, but a person with no college background in physics, much less an advanced degree, is qualified to teach high school physics. Something’s wrong with this picture!  This is a true story, folks.

And if you’re kids are having a hard time learning science—no matter how it’s taught—Brain Gym will help. www. BrainGymClasses.com

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