Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Priming Student Success

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Priming Student Success

Article excerpt

Natalie A. Morales is a science teacher at North Campus of Newburgh Free Academy, Newburgh, N.Y. She's also working toward an Ed.D. in instructional leadership at Western Connecticut State University, Danbury, Ct.

It's the consensus opinion--almost received wisdom--that the prospects of so many students along with prospects of this nation lie in getting more students interested in and proficient at science. What's the trick?

The key to increasing student interest in science is to point out and emphasize that science is happening all around us by using everyday scientific occurrences that are familiar to students. This makes science real and tangible as opposed to abstract and difficult by activating their prior knowledge and, more important, it piques their curiosity, allowing for wonderment that can lead to them posing questions, thus engaging them in using the scientific method to seek an answer.

Also, a science teacher must exude a passion and a love for science. This passion transfixes the students and draws them into science. It is also important to note the marvels and wonders of the scientific world. All of these things can pique student interest in creating their own potential passion and proclivity to science.

Currently, you're working on your doctoral dissertation, focusing on student and teacher perceptions of academic achievement and underachievement. What are the biggest misconceptions of those issues from those groups?

The biggest misconception facing each group is who is to blame for high school students' academic achievement and underachievement. Teachers tend to blame student choices and actions. They also believe students will blame them and their teaching. Students' awareness of the causes for their academic achievement and underachievement is often underestimated.

The reality is that academic achievement is not black and white but complex and multifaceted. …

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