Thursday, April 30, 2015

NGSS - A Worthy Vision

So this week I began my long journey into intimacy with the Next Generation Science Standards. The time has come when I have to know them inside out, be familiar with all the nooks and crannies, find out what resources are available and generally make them part of who I am as a math, science and engineering educator.

My journey began a few months ago when I joined a group of HE faculty working with the science folks at the Vermont Agency of Education to find ways of making sure that the implementation of the NGSS in Vermont schools goes as planned in 2016.

Using John Dewey's pedagogical dualism the NGSS present us with a worthy "inspired vision" of how science education should exist at the elementary school level in the context of the elementary school curriculum which includes ELA, math and social studies. It's interesting that the latter discipline is missing from the Venn diagram above.

The other part of Dewey's dualism, of course, is one's "executive means" or ones ability to put into practice one's "inspired vision" of teaching. According to Dewey's theory there must always be proximity between one's vision and one's executive means but one can never truly achieve one's inspired vision. . The two can never be exactly the same because the practical world of the classroom comprises children who are unique.  The relationships between the students in a class is also unique. Our task as teachers is to continually work to get as close to implementing our "inspired vision" through the use of our "executive means" as we possibly can.

This is a grand task that requires a growth mindset by everyone involved.


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