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:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... 2017   EyeLock LLC , a leader of ... States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued U.S. ... of an iris image with a face image acquired ... company,s 45 th issued patent. ... given the multi-modal biometric capabilities that have recently come ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... 2017  higi, the health IT company that operates ... America , today announced a Series B investment ... EveryMove. The new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy ... transform population health activities through the collection and workflow ... higi collects and secures data today on behalf of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... CALIFORNIA (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... technological innovation and business process optimization firm for the life sciences and healthcare ... BoxWorks conference in San Francisco. , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 06, ... ... leader in Hi-C-based genomic technologies, launched its ProxiMeta™ Hi-C metagenome deconvolution product, ... Hi-C kit and accompanying cloud-based bioinformatics software to perform Hi-C metagenome deconvolution ...
(Date:10/5/2017)... ... October 05, 2017 , ... LabRoots , the leading provider of educational ... is giving back to cancer research with a month-long promotion supporting the advancement of ... 31, shoppers can use promo code PinkRibbon to get 10 percent off their purchase ...
Breaking Biology Technology: