November 2001 Journal of Geoscience Education
Volume 49, Number 5
The Two Paradigms of Education and the Peer Review of Teaching
Dean A. McManus, School of Oceanography and Center for Instructional Development and Research, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
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Development of an Assessment of Student Conception of the Nature of Science
Before a faculty member undergoes a peer review of teaching, both the reviewers and the faculty member should understand the two paradigms of education-the Teaching-Centered Paradigm and the Learning-Centered Paradigm, because the paradigm chosen, even tacitly, by a faculty member determines how he or she educates students. Although the distinction between the paradigms has centered almost entirely on teaching methods and classroom environment, the differences between them are more fundamental. The paradigm determines the instructor's educational assumptions, educational goals, and assessment of results. Further, it determines the instructor's sense of educational responsibilities, the relationship with students, and motivational and mentoring responsibilities. Therefore, the peer review of an instructor teaching with one paradigm by reviewers who teach with the other risks being unfair and misleading. Complicating the issue are the "invisibility" of the Teaching-Centered Paradigm to most instructors who use it and the common use of Learning-Centered teaching methods or aims by instructors who still follow the Teaching-Centered Paradigm. Owing to the increase in numbers of Learning-Centered instructors, peer review now requires greater sensitivity by reviewers than before. Aligning the appropriate tools for peer review with the teaching implications of paradigm choice is the object of this paper.
Julie C. Libarkin, University Learning Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
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Hands-on Exercise in Environmental Structural Geology using a Fracture Block Model
Universities across the country have begun to make changes in their science curriculum, especially with regards to non-science majors. Assessment of courses and curricula, however, lags far behind implementation. In an effort to determine the effectiveness of science courses for non-majors, a series of general education and introductory courses were assessed using a Likert-scale instrument. Results from 991 students permitted a statistical analysis of this instrument's validity and reliability. This evaluation prompted the removal of a number of non-correlated items and indicated that the test consists of three scales: Attitude towards Learning Science, Attitude towards Science, and Conception of Science. Examples from two courses, one laboratory-based and the other grounded in collaborative learning, are provided to demonstrate the utility of these types of scales in assessing both prior knowledge and course outcomes.
Alexander E. Gates, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
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Introductory Geology for Elementary Education Majors Utilizing a Constructivist Approach
A scale analog model of an actual fractured rock reservoir was developed to demonstrate the relative utility of structural methods in predicting groundwater flow directions. Students performed several standard structural analyses directly on the fracture block rather than paper copies of fracture maps as in standard exercises. They predicted flow directions from these exercises. Then they performed tests to determine actual flow direction(s) by injecting dye into the water and tracking its course through the block. Comparison between the results of the structural methods and the flow tests allowed students to appreciate the complexities of fracture flow and utility of each of the methods. Because many of the graduates are employed in the environmental industry in the area, the exercise is decidedly pragmatic and kept the interest and even enthusiasm of the students throughout.
Lewis M. Brown and Paul R. Kelso, Department of Geology/Physics, Lake Superior State University, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
Carl B. Rexroad, Indiana Geological Survey, Bloomington, IN
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Using an Alternative Report Format in Undergraduate Hydrology Laboratories
Field Excursions in Earth Science is designed as a non-prerequisite field-based course for elementary education majors. Classic Canadian Shield and Michigan Basin outcrops and Quaternary features are used to teach those Earth science objectives considered most important for K-8 teachers by the Michigan State Board of Education and by others. We integrated these objectives into five conceptual pathways rather than presenting them as discrete pieces of information.
A variety of teaching techniques based on constru- ctivist educational theory are employed, so that pre-service teachers experience active-learning strategies in the context of how science is practiced. Our learning strategies address the cognitive and affective domains and utilize personal experiences in conjunction with pre- and post-experience organizers to allow students to develop individual meanings. We place emphasis on observations and concepts and we encourage students to explain their understanding of concepts verbally and in a variety of written formats.
Activities address spatial concepts and map reading; mineral, rock, and fossil identification; formation of rocks; surficial processes and landform development; structural deformation and plate tectonics; and environmental issues. Students keep field notes and have daily projects. They address the pedagogical structure of the course in a daily diary.
Julie A. Luft, Stacy J. Tollefson, and Gillian H. Roehrig, Department of Teaching and Teacher Education, College of Education, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
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GLOBE in Preservice and Inservice Teacher Education
Across the nation, undergraduate faculty and staff in the sciences are being called upon to examine traditional laboratory practices. The Vee map is a graphic organizer that is a viable alternative to one component of the traditional laboratory, the laboratory report. It consists of a large Vee with six areas: Focus Question, Word List, Concept Map, Events, Data and Data Transformations, and Conclusions and Claims. The Focus Question guides the investigation, while the Word List and Concept Map reveal prior knowledge. The Events area is a description of the plan students devise to answer the Focus Question. The collected data are recorded and analyzed in the Data and Data Transformation area, findings and results of the investigation are described in the Conclusions and Claims area. Students proceed through these areas in the above mentioned sequence as they engage in an open-ended laboratory investigation. As students complete a Vee map, they contemplate their prior knowledge, engage in the process of knowledge construction, and build meaningful knowledge. Ultimately, a Vee map is a tool that assists an instructor in creating a more interactive and student-centered laboratory report.
Margaret M. Avard, Department of Physical Sciences, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK
Bryon K. Clark, Department of Biological Sciences, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Durant, OK
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Column - Computational Geology 18: Definition and the Concept of Set
GLOBE, Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment, is a K-12 environmental education program supported by NASA, NOAA, and NSF. GLOBE is a powerful teaching tool that enables students to use hands-on, inquiry-based methods to gather and interpret scientific data. Southeastern Oklahoma State University holds inservice teacher workshops funded by a grant from the Dwight D. Eisenhower Math and Science Program. The first workshop was held during June 1999. Over a two-week period, teachers learned basic GLOBE protocols, formed questions concerning each of the GLOBE topics, collected data in the field, performed data/laboratory analyses, compared data submitted by various schools around the world on the GLOBE website, learned about remote sensing and how to view/manipulate images using image processing software, and were introduced to the geology of Oklahoma. Teachers were excited about their experience and felt well-prepared to pass this newly acquired knowledge to their students. Since enthusiasm was high in the workshop, GLOBE protocols have now been incorporated into preservice teacher education at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
Len Vacher, University of South Florida