Navigation Links
Science 101: Different teaching fosters better comprehension
Date:4/5/2011

Montreal, April 5, 2011 Introductory science courses in biology, chemistry, math and physics can be challenging for first-year college, CEGEP and university students. Science 101 courses can make or break a student's decision to venture into a scientific field or even pursue higher education.

"The language, fundamentals and scope of science gateway courses can be akin to a foreign culture," says Calvin Kalman, principal of Concordia's Science College and a professor in the Department of Physics. "Students can have great difficulty reading scientific texts even when they are written in their native language and they must also cope with complex knowledge taught by their professor."

Since 1995, Kalman has investigated new ways to ease this learning curve. "The main problem in teaching science is that its approach is not holistic," he explains, noting high school through university-level textbooks aren't necessarily consistent and don't employ user-friendly language. "They offer layers of scientific results, coming from competing interpretations, deposited during centuries."

Kalman's most recent paper, published in the journal Science & Education, followed CEGEP and university students over the course of a semester. He asked that they practice what he calls "reflective writing" a process where students digest, analyze and pen their thoughts on assigned readings before classroom discussions. "It's a way of getting students to wrestle with materials and grasp their meaning, rather than just summarizing," he explains.

As part of his study, students were interviewed three times and asked to describe how reflective-writing helped their comprehension of course content. "They felt that they had to put the information into their own words, which really helped them refine key concepts," Kalman says. "Reflective writing gets students to initiate a self-dialogue about texts and ask: 'What do I understand?' and 'What do I not understand?'"

Kalman says teaching and learning is most successful when a student's outlook on a course is close to that of their professor. "Students are often looking for basics to pass courses, but that doesn't engage them," he says. "Unless they come to class prepared to ask questions, students end up serving time."

Kalman's solutions aren't radical: He encourages professors to go beyond PowerPoint presentations and lectures to promote critical thinking both inside and outside the classroom. His research has garnered collaborations with peers in Toronto, Vancouver and, internationally, in Portugal, Vietnam and China. Improving science education, Kalman says, is the only way for nations to remain at the forefront of the knowledge-based economy.

"Bolstering student understanding of basic science courses can improve retention rates in this field," he says. "But if students don't understand what they're learning they'll drop out and we'll lose ideas and people who will move their countries forward. What countries need are people who think critically who are entrepreneurs and that begins with how they're taught."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sylvain-Jacques Desjardins
s-j.desjardins@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x5068
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Penn presents inaugural symposium on applied mathematics and computational science
2. UW science photo takes second in national contest
3. Global science community to gather in Mozambique
4. 8 National Medals of Science awardees to be honored at gala, then the White House
5. A major prize in the chemical sciences announced by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation
6. BioScience tip sheet, October 2008
7. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
8. National Science Foundation grant expands UMCES oyster research
9. Mandate for biofuels production requires science-based policy and global perspective
10. US Senate confirms Clemson University engineering Dean Esin Gulari to National Science Board
11. The Science Coalitions 10 questions for the presidential debate
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Science 101: Different teaching fosters better comprehension
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016 Technology Enhancements Accelerate Growth of X-ray Imaging ... digital and computed radiography markets in Thailand ... Indonesia (TIM). It provides an in-depth ... well as regional market drivers and restraints. The study ... and market attractiveness, both for digital and computed radiography. ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Wocket® smart wallet ( www.wocketwallet.com ) ... television personality, Joey Fatone . Las Vegas ... fans. --> Las Vegas , where Joey ... --> The new video ad was filmed at the Consumer Electronics ... at the Wocket booth to meet and greet fans. ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Date and time: March 1, ... the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, PA ... will hold an open house for participants to learn about a new Master ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... The ... and Open Access publishing is one of the popular publication models that has ... access journals and 3000+ International Conferences across the globe, OMICS ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... February 9, 2016 Three-Year Initiative Supports ... to Take Part in Life-Changing Camp ... designed to positively affect the lives of children born with rare ... --> SHPG ) is announcing a new initiative designed to ... well as the future of rare disease care. --> ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... LOS ANGELES , Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... research and development company specializing in oncology, today ... loan and security agreement with Hercules Technology Growth ... up to $40 million in financing. ... received the first $25 million of financing under ...
Breaking Biology Technology: