Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Kalpana Guttman

Grade: 1–2, 5

Location: Newton, MA

Setting: Suburban

Years Teaching: 16

How would you characterize your general approach to teaching science?

I think that if children feel that science is something that only happens in classrooms, then it doesn't become as valuable for them. But if they can see that it is something that permeates their lives, then they are making the connections I want children to make. My students in the primary grades were always coming back and telling me about trees they had observed on the weekend, or what was happening in the tree in their yard. They connected it to what was happening in the tree in their school. I think it's much easier for students to feel something is worthwhile if it connects to other interests that they have in life.

What is one of the challenges you face in the classroom?

I think very often as teachers we're used to manipulating students to say what we want them to say, either by framing the questions in a very narrow way or by giving them cues or signals about what we want them to say. If you're a good teacher you are always leading, but you have to look like you're not. You can feed the kids the answers and it looks like they've got it. Or, there's another way of teaching in which you're still the leader, but you wait for them to come up with the questions and answers. It's much harder to actually sit back and listen to what the kids want to say.

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