Hi! My name is John Moore. Brad has asked that I provide some background about myself and provide some discussion for our blog site. I am excited to help stimulate discussion for the benefit of developing better biology education.
I have been teaching science (biology) for 36+ years. After graduating from college I began teaching in Indiana on the Junior High level where I taught for ten years. I loved working with those students, their minds were so eager to learn and they were so excited about most things I taught. I then moved to high school where I taught for another ten years. While at the high school I taught all levels and types of classes for the advanced students (microbiology, physiology and AP biology). I also taught courses for those students who were disengaged in the education process. I have now been teaching for the last 16 years on the university level including the science methods courses. I am now beginning to develop an education centre for my university in Cuenca Ecuador. I plan to live there this year in August to help develop the centre.
My ares of interest in biology also changed over the years. When I first attended college I was an animal biologist and ecologist. I loved studying the outdoors. As I went back for my masters, I was seen as weak in plant biology, so my masters in biology had a plant emphasis. Well when finally going back for my terminal degree in biology, my advising committee felt it was time for the cellular molecular world. Now I am working in the area of the philosophy of science education. I wonder where I will be in the next ten years?
Well after all these years in education, I have seen many debates about science education and the varied approaches to teaching it such as: learning styles, inquiry based, cooperative learning, constructivist approach to name a few. One thing has remained constant over these years, in spite of the varied approaches; science is still perceived as a hard academic discipline. So many of the students I now get in the university talk about how they were affected positively or negatively in science education by their high school biology teacher. It is always good to hear the good stories about the teachers in high school, especially after spending my first 20 years there. However, in my non-major class, I often hear the sad stories of their science experiences. One of the comments that I heard about a few years ago from a student in a biology class was. “Biology, oh that is a field of study based on memorization of boring facts that have little relevance to my life. People who are almost always right, never unsure of them, relatively emotionless, and often arrogant, practice it. They are not at all like me.”
How many of you have heard students with the same opinion of biology, science and scientists. How do we help teachers move from teaching just content and information? How can we help teachers find ways that excite students in such a way so they can fulfill what they think the science standards are asking of them and begin to address the real biology? So if you were asked the question, what is biological science, how would you respond? I hope that these questions can provide a form of discussion on this blog that will help all of us to be better biology teachers.