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Dr. Smith Knows What’s Up!

Corporal Kate made me promise that I would stop writing about our …um… adventures and get back to science today. I’m still not quite ready for all the heavy stuff yet this morning (it’s too EARLY!!!) so I decided to go browse around the really pretty Dr. Smith’s site, Aetiology.

There’s one post in the archives that “spoke to me”.

What Makes A Good Science Teacher It’s a great article, and it’s short, so please go read it. And tell her JanieBelle and Corporal Kate sent you. 🙂

I don’t want to reprint the whole thing, because it wouldn’t be right. But I think that what she has to say isn’t just true about science teachers. I would say that it applies to ALL teachers.

Here is the quote that summarizes the post:

For me, I think it comes down to three E’s: Education, Explanation, and Enthusiasm. – Dr. Tara Smith

I can tell you from my experience on the other side of the desk, that she is 100% totally, absolutely, without reservation correct.

She goes on to say that two out of three ain’t bad, but ain’t good enough, either. Education and explanation might make you “adequate” (her word, not mine), but without enthusiasm, you’re just spinnin’ your wheels.

There is nothing worse as a student than spending a whole class period just copying notes from the blackboard, and then going home and memorizing answers you don’t really understand, just to pass a test. It’s SO BORING!!. And useless, really.

Sure, I can tell you what the speed of light is. (It’s about 300,000kps) But it’s just a little factoid floating around in my head doing nothing. Know why? ‘Cause Science class was BORING! That’s why.

Now my Lit teachers? They rocked. (Great hair might not have helped, but it sure didn’t hurt.) They were ANIMATED. They loved books. They loved stories. They loved connecting what was said in a book with what was going on in history at the time. And they passed that love on to us. THAT’S what made them great teachers.

Just to give credit where credit is due, I have to say that there was one thing my one science teacher used to say that stuck with me. He used to say “The universe is not only stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we CAN imagine.” But his class still sucked.

Filed under: Education, Literature, Science

6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just to let you know, your teacher ripped off someone with the comment on the universe being stranger than we can imagine. I just can’t remember who just now.

    Unfortunately, even much of my university education was writing stuff down from the blackboard and memorising- its one of these things you have to do in science, so that you know the full background. Think of it being like your doctor, who has to have memorised a vast list of symptoms and how they correlate with illness’s, in order to do their job. Its the same with science, but as Dr Smith says, it makes it all a lot better if the teacher has enthusiasm and explanation.
    guthrie

  2. JanieBelle says:

    Yeah, I kinda had the impression that he was quoting someone else, but I never bothered to look it up. Seems like a truism no matter where it came from.

  3. Anonymous says:

    AH ha- The quote is attributed to JBS Haldane, who oddly enough, was an evolutionary biologist earlier in the 20th century, apparently one of the founders of population genetics.
    And he was Scottish.
    guthrie

  4. JanieBelle says:

    Well thanks guthrie. I still hadn’t gotten a chance to look that up. (I’m busy patrollin’ for trolls. 🙂 )

    Kazah for the Scots!

    Of course, checking out ol’ JBS Haldane is now appended to my science workload.

    Ahh well, what’s a girl to do?

  5. Anonymous says:

    You could sit and polish your nails…

    Or you could just read up on everything in sight in any way related to whatever you are interested in.
    Which would you rather do?
    guthrie

    PS- troll patrolling sounds fun, if a little dull, but I suppose its easier for someone like yourself to attract the wrong attention online.

  6. JanieBelle says:

    Actually, guthrie, Kate just did my nails for me.

    But I AM reading in two browser windows, and in an encylcopedia volume, while I’m patrolling. (I’m good at multi-tasking) I’m sure the patrolling will ease up after a while. Once everyone settles down a bit, and I feel a little more comfortable with not having to be right on top of it.

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