Methods for Teaching Secondary Earth Science: Role in the Program

Page prepared for SERC by by Sandra Rutherford of Eastern Michigan University.

A discussion of the design and implementation of a teaching methods course serving pre-service teachers at Eastern Michigan University, created by Sandra Rutherford.

A description of this course and its goals is available.

What Role Does this Course Play in Teacher Preparation?

This class is the capstone methods class for teaching earth science.

How do Students Integrate Learning & Teaching?

The students are suppose to have taken all of the content classes before they come to this class. Because it is only offered in the fall sometimes they still have a few content classes to go. I also prefer they come to the class with a curriculum and assessment class completed.

Therefore, they may still be learning content while they practice methods to teach it.

How does the Course Transition Pre-service Teachers into the Classroom?

I always try to find a way to get the pre-service teachers to work with students so for the last few years they have been required to design and teach two after school sessions at a local after school club. This next year I am hoping to take them during the day to an earth science classroom and have them teach a lesson to a small group of students.

How is the Course Content Aligned with the National Science Education Standards?

We primarily use the Michigan standards but they are asked to list the NSE standards that also apply. I follow the NSTA standards closely for this class.

How does the Course Meet Certification Requirements?

This is their methods class before they student teach which is a requirement for certification.

What Challenges have been Encountered in Teaching this Course? How have they been Resolved?

This is a hard class to teach. I am not sure if I can explain why? It seems that the students have their foot half-way out the door. They want to become teachers and are tired of listening to "how" to teach. They seem to feel after all the observations they have done that they are ready to just get on with it. Oddly they really seem unprepared to me when I assess their lesson plans or watch them present. I don't think I have had much success at resolving this issue.