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Lessons From Teacher Ciruela
Teachers as science disseminators

One of the most pressing ills of our present educational system is the lack of scientific training, which results in what we call -somewhat pejoratively- scientific illiteracy of the common people.

This scientific illiteracy rests largely with high school science teachers. Sadly, these teachers themselves are unable to reverse this disease as the vast majority of them has never been provided with any strong training in science: just a few of them fully know what science is, how it works, what it deals with, what it consists in.

The only big chance of getting over this is to have our science curriculum reformed. Several worthless, even harmful subjects should be removed from the current curriculum and replaced with science-oriented ones, so as to get high school teachers actively involved in science, thus improving their own overall scientific knowledge and understanding.

Some useful tips on how to achieve a substantial improvement on science teaching:

Guest scientists taking part in classes: once a week a scientist is invited to talk about some already fixed topic for discussion, a question-bombing session happens, then information from answers is gathered up to be reviewed and discussed at greater length later during the week.

Visiting labs: going on outings to scientific research laboratories -not just once or twice but on a regular basis-, in order to get information out of patterned questions and systematic observations.

Visiting science-related universities: auditing some of the classes so as to find out the differences between the ongoing areas of knowledge being taught in each of the two career development programs.

Attending scientific meetings: just once or twice a year, that would be enough time to get to know how they work, what they talk about, what they are meant for. High school teachers-to-be would become very welcome and appropriate guests among other people not necessarily science-related such as observers or journalists who also attend events of this kind.

The scientific community is open to help build up and strengthen the bonds between the two educational spheres for the benefit of everyone concerned. A high school teacher who not only knows about the laws of nature but also understands the way they are born would very likely become a disseminator able enough to overcome scientific illiteracy.

Translated by Virginia Merchan. Some Rights Reserved. Not to be reproduced or quoted without citing the source and the author. Last updated Dec-12. Buenos Aires, Argentina.