A Community of Learners

By Metz, Steve | The Science Teacher, April-May 2008 | Go to article overview

A Community of Learners


Metz, Steve, The Science Teacher


In our biology and ecology classes, the concept of "community" is central. We understand that no organism can exist alone, but instead is embedded in the web of interactions with other organisms we call a community. We also know that in our classes, students learn best when, instead of working in isolation, they interact with peers through collaborative learning exercises, group projects, and interactive discussion. When we teach the history and nature of science, we stress that most scientists rarely work independently, that major discoveries are generally the result of collaboration, and that it takes an entire scientific community to review and verify scientific findings.

Why do we in our professional lives often seem to forget these lessons about the importance of community? Why do we so often work in isolation, apart from the potential support of our fellow teachers? I sometimes feel that I enter my classroom in September like a bear entering a cave, not to emerge until final exams are completed in June. Except for occasional staff or department meetings, teachers generally work alone, each of us in our own little cubbyhole. How often do we have the chance to talk with our colleagues about teaching strategies or cross-disciplinary collaboration? How often do we partner with businesses and other groups outside the classroom walls?

It seems clear that teaching becomes richer in an environment of interacting relationships, an organic web of partnerships. This wisdom is not new; it goes back almost 400 years to 17th-century English poet John Donne's commonly known quote: "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." In contrast, the isolation of teachers is notorious. Failure to connect with the larger community is one of the major pitfalls of classroom teaching.

Fortunately, there is good news on at least three fronts. First, there is the internet, which now allows easy access to teaching ideas and strategies--particularly NSTA's website (www.nsta.org), which provides a wealth of information and resources. Second, there are the NSTA Conferences on Science Education, which are held four times each year. In addition to hundreds of workshops, seminars, and presentations, NSTA conferences offer opportunities to connect with science educators from all across the country in settings that encourage peer-to-peer interactions, whether in workshop sessions or informally over coffee or lunch. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A Community of Learners
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.