Regina McCurdy loved science as a child and also took her faith really seriously, which eventually led to a conflict. When she was eventually told by a pastor that she didn’t have to choose between science and faith, her world opened up. Now she spends her days teaching teachers how to teach science. In the episode we hear her story and then talk about some different aspects of science teaching including the importance of bringing empathy into the classroom and the role race and ethnicity plays in the science classroom.
This is far more valuable than it might first seem. And that’s because it appears to be the case that since the 80-90’s the emphasis changed to focus more on the “education” of teachers (which is pretty darn important) at the cost of less emphasis on teaching teachers “how” to teach.
Another great podcast. I particularly learned from her observations that children come from markedly different backgrounds, and we must be sensitive to those starting places when we present new ideas.
I also heartily agree with teaching critical thinking skills. Ultimately, that ability is important if we are to advance beyond rote learning to truly knowing a subject, whether it be science, medicine, or even how or live a Christian life.
I was educated to be a teacher in the late 90s and got an MA in TESOL in the early 2000. There was plenty of emphasis on how to teach, but what changed perhaps was an emerging emphasis on multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion. Believe it or not, when you admit from the get-go that students come from very different worldviews and home situations and have a spectrum of learning differences, it complicates the “how to teach” part significantly. We were taught to value inquiry-based learning, which involves figuring out where your students are at and creating a learning environment that leads them to the place you want them to go, instead of just treating them all as blank slates we write our own knowledge on or living/breathing containers we transfer “instructional content” to.
I enjoyed this thoughtful conversation. Dr McCurdy is a deep, empathetic thinker. Her students are blessed.
I remember listening to a Black female medical school classmate (who happened to be in our Bible study as well), who mentioned in a group discussion that she belonged to one of the most difficult groups of the world to succeed in. I don’t know why, but it hit me like a thunderbolt at the time, all at once, something of how right she was. I barely scratch the surface of understanding anything about what people go through. It is an incredible burden that teachers bear. We need more of this understanding.
I appreciate your kind words. I’m glad that you took away the message you shared…We all come in to learning spaces with different experiences from our backgrounds and cultures. Teachers roles can be so impactful when they have this approach with their students.
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