Archive for August, 2011

STEM teacher training workshop by Dr. Diana Wehrell-Grabowski teachers working with super absorbing polymersYolie Flores is “spot on” when she states in an article in US News and World Report ┬áthat “recruiting, training, supporting, and equally distributing highly effective math and science teachers must be a top priority for the United States in US News and World Report. Yolie Flores, a former Los Angeles Unified School District board member, is CEO of Communities for Teaching Excellence. As always if we want US students to comprehend complex math and science concepts then we better be sure that our teachers have a handle on the concepts as well. Continual teacher training, professional staff development, and support is critical in building a strong STEM initiative in the United States.

No matter what hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based teacher training workshop I’m conducting. A fundamental component of the teacher training is introducing teachers to investigations that help the student develop observational skills, as well as developing critical thinking skills. Developing observational skills and critical thinking skills is essential in all science classes. I find that in my STEM teacher training workshops the need for heightened observational skills and critical thinking skills is crucial for the student to fully comprehend STEM education concepts. Recently, I conducted a 3-day STEM teacher training institute for an elementary school that is in its first year of becoming a STEM school. Throughout the 3 days teachers were actively engaged in exploring STEM concepts through hands-on-minds-on inquiry-based investigations. Many of the teachers shared with me that they had never looked at nature and the world the way they learned to during the training. As teachers we often get caught up in the daily rut of covering mass amounts of information within short periods of time that becomes disjointed with little meaning to the student. The first priority in any classroom is to teach observational skills and help the student develop critical thinking skills. But first, teachers may need to take the time to look closely at nature themselves. The following slideshare below is from a recent Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) teacher training workshop I conducted.

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