Chemistry Meta-reflection

Three weeks ago I wanted to understand and develop some knowledge so that my teaching of students undertaking senior chemistry (VCE and IB) will employ all 6 levels of intellectual behaviour suggested in Bloom’s taxonomy (http://www.officeport.com/edu/blooms.htm). My concern was that the task of learning to complete the VCE is dominated by the knowledge rather than comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.
Having the opportunity, during the workshops, to develop some creative writing as well as exploring the chemistry via context first has enabled me to see the value in learning through activities not typical of the chalk and talk methodology I was exposed to in school. I feel adapt at utilising these types of tools in the chemistry classroom as I see how effectively I learn about a topic when given this opportunity. I have a lot of ideas for alternative education experiences in the chemistry classroom and feel that at times that I could get carried away with the idea and don’t stop to focus on the student learning objective.

I also wanted to learn about and develop a confidence to be the chemistry teacher I imagine being (See Blog Entry). By constantly re-evaluate and developing my chemistry teacher philosophy, I hope that it can give me some foundations when teaching next year. My teaching style is also ‘under-construction’ and I hope that this course will help direct and evaluated this too.
I have tried to concentrate on the development of my listening skills, thus enabling me to listen and learn from other pre-service teachers in my workshops. Listening to others opinions and developing an understanding of their viewpoint is helping me to develop my own ideas as a chemistry teacher. Without judgement I make a mental note of the particular styles I do and do not like or respond well too. I try to turn negative experiences into positive ones. During the workshops I have experienced the dominant “i know everything” personalities. Interestingly this resulted in my sense of feeling “dumb” when not clear about the content of a particular chemistry topic and I now have a better understanding of how students might feel and some of the consequences of this to their learning. My first two reflective works (Links) are particular negative. I described a self doubt that I will not be a good chemistry teacher. I felt my engagement in the workshops was limited and I personalised my relationship with others based on my confidence. I found the exercise of writing a reflective log created tool for me to diagnose my feeling and learning consequence and make changes to my own responses. This worked well during the third workshop were I plucked up the courage to ask for clarification to why water creates a lattice structure during the solid phase. Other students thanked me for asking the question in the days to follow as they too were fearful to ask a question and have a response which is negative. I imagine that learning to use reflective type diaries and the development of a cohesive class who support each other in having a go and making a mistake will be critical in any classroom I have the fortune to work in.

A Question:
MISTAKE is there actually room for this word in the classroom and when learning can happen?
One definition is ” to blunder in the choice of” (from: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mistake)

I think what I meant to write was “a class who support each other in having a go and TAKING A RISK”
To overcome fear of taking a risk and having a go is a foundation to the learning environment I hope to create. Doing this effectively is an area I hope to explore and develop a better understanding of soon.

About Sarah

Currently teaching in Collingwood College as a science and outdoor education high school teacher. After a huge 2020 I have decided to change direction and later in the year plan to undertake a coding bootcamp... After training to be a teacher via a Diploma of Education and Masters in Chemistry via thesis on the effects of bushfire on receiving water bodies (Gippsland 2002-2003) at Monash University Clayton Campus, Melbourne, Australia I have been teaching in Secondary schools in Melbourne including Sophia Mundi Steiner School . I have been an active member of the Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA), represented Australia at the world Canoe Polo Championships, am keen on other sports: netball, basketball and road cycling. I am a keen gardener and owner of chickens as well as a German Shorthaired Pointer and mother to four children. Life is busy but I would not have it any other way!
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