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I've recently become aware that there is a huge misconception, on may part and I hope others as well, that teachers are supposed to fill students heads with information. For a long time I really thought that this was part of my job as an educator. I would wake up each morning and go off to share in whatever engaging and interesting way I could find the interesting facts of science and chemistry that the state and federal standards require.
In more recent weeks and months I've started to learn a
That's a lovely idea but as Firestein says we are really just farting around... in the dark. This is GREAT NEWS! Farting around is way more fun! Students don't always seem to enjoy the Scientific Method. But they fart around all on their own.
The real problem that I have observed about teaching facts (and to a lesser degree the Scientific Method as I was taught) is that it is deadening. Facts are the punctuation of science. They help us ask the really interesting bits, the questions. Students come into school curious about the world and leave school no longer curious because the teachers tell them, again and again, that everything they need to know will be reviewed before the test. But that's WRONG. Students should leave school even more curious than they started. We do share some of our learning with the students but that should be in order to catalyze more questions, not end them. Firestein makes an amazing analogy between the expansion of a pond ripple and our knowledge where the outside is our ignorance and the inside is our knowledge. As our knowledge grows, our ignorance (or lack of knowledge) grows a little bit faster.
In pursuit of this ignorance I found another Ted video that talks about the questions no one knows the answers to. I feel like these are the things that we need to talk about. Our students don't need to know the location of the black cat in the dark, or need to know there is no cat. They need to learn how to ask questions about why this Schrodinger's cat is hanging out in the dark.
Let's give our students questions instead of answers.