My biggest take away from the Great American Teaching is that students are very excited and engaged when an adult besides the teacher comes into the classroom and shares his or her knowledge. The students in my classroom joined the class next door to listen to a presentation from a police officer from St. Petersburg. The students enjoyed passing around his equipment and learning more about how the police help the people in our communities. The favorite part of the majority of my students was seeing his police car and watching and listening to the sirens. This informal learning experience granted the students a glimpse into the life of a police officer. I would love to incorporate experiences like these throughout the year in my classroom. I believe it is important for scientists to interact with students. Bodzin and Gehringer wrote, “It appears that the interaction between the scientists and the students during the classroom visit influenced the students perceptions regarding scientists. The scientists’ visits provided students with the opportunity to see scientists as ordinary people” (2001, 40). As a learner, my biggest take away is that I find direct experiences and contact with educated individuals in various career paths is the best way to keep me engaged and interested throughout a presentation. Although I already know a lot about police officers, I gained new knowledge by listening to the presentation. Providing students with an opportunity to learn directly from the source is wonderful because students get to really interact with the career in an engaging manner. This reminds me of my visit to Nature’s Classroom because I was able to learn a lot about Florida’s environment and wild life that I did not already know. The engaging nature of the visit was mostly because of the fantastic help for the staff that gave us a tour. As a teacher, this emphasizes the importance of understanding a concept, especially an informal learning experience, before teaching it to students to avoid creating misconceptions and foster a deeper understanding. I would love to take my students to Nature’s Classroom and if I ever do go, I will make sure to be prepared beforehand by having a specific purpose for the visit and taking the time to go to Nature’s Classroom before I bring students.
Bodzin & Gehringer. (2001). Breaking Science Stereotypes.