I am an educator in BC, Canada, with a special focus on science education. I also occasionally delve into topics relating to gamification in education. Science and Math are subjects often thought of in absolutes – you get it or you don’t. The reality is that many students are simply unengaged by current educational methodology or find the concepts too abstract to grasp. With this blog I intend to present ideas for activities you can do with your students or children to explore these subjects, and maybe learn a little along the way. Learning is experience, not words on a page or worksheets in a hand-on pile.
I have a Bachelor of Sciences with a major in Chemistry and I am a published scientific author. I was inspired by both my work at the Big Little Science Center and my experience as a tutor in this subject to change my career path. I am currently completing the Bachelor of Education program at Thompson Rivers University.
My Educational Philosphy:
I believe that every person has the capacity to learn and the ability to change themselves, and by extension their society through education. I believe that the circumstances of a person’s birth may influence them but does not define them. I believe that humanity shows it’s true strength when cooperating towards a common goal. To this end, my goal is to foster an inclusive, cooperative, and individualized classroom diverse in culture and in thought. In general, I describe my educational philosophy with 5 main points.
1. Knowledge is holistic and includes experience.
What I mean by this is that there are no “subjects” as we see them. All knowledge is knowledge, and since we know through Constructivist principles that students construct their knowledge and worldview from their subjective experience, the variety and breadth of experiences a person lives through is not separate from the knowledge they gain through conversation, books, school, or other media. There is no “socio-emotional” or “logical-mathematical” learning, there is only learning. Cross-curricular activities should be encouraged and applied at all grade levels to connect as much of a student’s world as possible.
2. People are defined by their actions and choices.
I reject the notion that being born of a certain socio-economic status, race, religion, ethnicity, or sex defines a person. While these facets of your life inarguably contribute to who you are they do not define you. Your choices, actions, and how you interact with the world around you are what defines you. Extending into the classroom, this means that all students are created equal and should be treated with the same respect, discipline, and opportunity.
3. Being wrong is not being bad.
The notion that being wrong means that you are inherently flawed as a human being is one of our greatest adversaries to progress. The amount of mental gymnastics people will do to avoid being wrong can lead to dogmatic and “box-like” generalizations which do not represent reality. Therefore when a student holds a demonstrably wrong worldview, it should be treated as a misconception due to a lack of knowledge, not as a character flaw. The truth is that there is no “right” answer, just “the answer supported by the most evidence”. We are all limited by our subjective view of the world as human beings and once you acknowledge that being wrong doesn’t make you a bad person you will continue to seek out new knowledge and change your views when confronted with evidence contrary to your worldview.
4. Empathy and perspective are the keys to understanding
When we are able to see the world through another’s eyes we stop seeing them as “another”, but as a reflection of ourselves. Too often politicians and the media try to divide us into groups or present a simplistic and generalized view of world events. The only race is the human race, and when we share our perspectives and our stories we see a more complete view of the world and find we have more in common than we do in difference.
5. It’s ok to be weird
Being “weird” is often confused with “being yourself”. One of humanity’s greatest assets is that we are all individuals. We are far more powerful together than we are apart, and it is because we are all “weird” in our own way. I will not tell a student they are wrong because their interests do not lie with the majority, and I will not tell a student who aligns with the majority that they are not special. I will foster each student’s abilities and interests because when a student believes in themselves they will believe in others.