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Zippy
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#1
Report 17 years ago
#1
I'm interested in hearing from "underachievers" out there who loved science as kids but never
pursued it as a career. As a kid I loved science, did independent reading voraciously, and collected
fossils. At some point in high school I lost my enthusiasm. I'm not sure why. Science suddenly
became unappealing. It seemed dry and sterile, devoid of emotion. Now I wish I'd stuck with it.
Anyone with similar experiences?
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Kevin Killion
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#2
Report 17 years ago
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[q1]> I'm interested in hearing from "underachievers" out there who loved science as kids but never[/q1]
[q1]> pursued it as a career. As a kid I loved science, did independent reading voraciously, and[/q1]
[q1]> collected fossils. At some point in high school I lost my enthusiasm. I'm not sure why. Science[/q1]
[q1]> suddenly became unappealing. It seemed dry and sterile, devoid of emotion. Now I wish I'd stuck[/q1]
[q1]> with it. Anyone with similar experiences?[/q1]

I can imagine that the two big pedagogy camps would hypothesize as follows:

The progressive/contructivist camp would say, "Burnout happens when kids are forced to read dry
text, to complete worksheets, and to take tests on content knowledge, eventually killing their
enthusiasm."

The instructivist/academic content camp would say, "Burnout happens because all of these garish
picture books and hands-on experiments can only sustain interest at a surface, juvenile level, and
they deaden children's skills at mastering substantive detail. When science becomes more in depth in
high school, they have no foundation for appreciating science on that level."

As usual, elements of both may be correct, or both may be correct for different children.

-- Kevin Killion
0
Zippy
Badges:
#3
Report 17 years ago
#3
[email protected] (Kevin Killion) wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>...
[q2]> > I'm interested in hearing from "underachievers" out there who loved science as kids but never[/q2]
[q2]> > pursued it as a career. As a kid I loved science, did independent reading voraciously, and[/q2]
[q2]> > collected fossils. At some point in high school I lost my enthusiasm. I'm not sure why. Science[/q2]
[q2]> > suddenly became unappealing. It seemed dry and sterile, devoid of emotion. Now I wish I'd stuck[/q2]
[q2]> > with it. Anyone with similar experiences?[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> I can imagine that the two big pedagogy camps would hypothesize as follows:[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The progressive/contructivist camp would say, "Burnout happens when kids are forced to read dry[/q1]
[q1]> text, to complete worksheets, and to take tests on content knowledge, eventually killing their[/q1]
[q1]> enthusiasm."[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The instructivist/academic content camp would say, "Burnout happens because all of these garish[/q1]
[q1]> picture books and hands-on experiments can only sustain interest at a surface, juvenile level, and[/q1]
[q1]> they deaden children's skills at mastering substantive detail. When science becomes more in depth[/q1]
[q1]> in high school, they have no foundation for appreciating science on that level."[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> As usual, elements of both may be correct, or both may be correct for different children.[/q1]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> -- Kevin Killion[/q1]

The instructivist/academic camp is on the money. My experience with chemistry bears this out. It may
have been chemistry that nailed the lid down on science as a career for me. Until I took chemistry
in 10th grade, science had been entirely description and experiments, even 9th grade bio. Chemistry
was a real culture shock. There I was working out cryptic equations that seemed suspiciously like
math. I was confused. Where were the bubbling test tubes and frothing flasks? And what did math have
to do with science? They had always been separate "subjects." Never had the twain met. Occasionally,
an instructor would make some platitudinous comment about mathematics being the "queen of sciences"
or something, but that was as far as the connection went. I had never been told that math and
science were virtually inseparable and that a scientist's math skills must be nearly equal those of
mathematician. I heard once from a PhD geologist who had a similar experience. His elementary school
education actually had him believing he could become a scientist without math skills. Fortunately he
wised up in time and crammed himself with math independently in high school and college. This
shouldn't be happening, but I imagine it's quite common. As for the progressive/contructivist camp,
they need to realize that dryness and drudgery are a regrettable but necessary step in science/math
education. Life is not all fun and games. And the earlier the boring stuff is introduced, the
better. Elementary school children are learning sponges, with an appetite for knowledge its own
sake. I was like that at one time. If the boring stuff is not learned then, it never will be. Anyone
who can do elementary algebra, for instance, can do chemistry. I wish I had had it at the junior
high level—the equations, memorizing the periodic table, everything. I feel I could have
handled it in 7th grade or even 6th.
0
Johnny Abreu
Badges:
#4
Report 17 years ago
#4
Hi Zippy,

I had similar experiences, but now, much older, I am enjoying science again! I know it not right to
place blame, but I believe the teachers are not doing enough to inspire the new generations - who
else has the knowledge and time to motivate young minds?

It is sad that most teachers I know, will only read the boring details out of a text book, do one
experiment to show that it works and then provide tons of home to keep one occupied! Yet, it
doesn't take that much effort to make any science class interesting. Science should be a discovery
for each and every one, to me science is the unlocking of the secrets of nature how can most people
ignore it?

The teacher's aim should be, to inspire, to gentle nourish the inquiring minds with tidbits of
information to keep the flame burning - The right questions should be asked, seeds should be planted
(mentally) so that each mind can wrestle with the problems that ancient inventors had, they should
try to make their own hypothesis and then compare them with the great minds. Jacob Bronowski said in
a book. "Students are not at university to worship what is known, but to question it!"

Like most things in life once you "have" to do it, becomes work and not a pleasure anymore! ;-) -
that is why I now enjoy science as a hobby, I study what I want and when I want to - at my own pace
without pressure from anywhere.

Thanks for the thread!
--
Cheers - Johnny
******************************** *******
So much to learn, so little time, http://home.global.co.za/~abreu/
******************************** *******

"zippy" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> I'm interested in hearing from "underachievers" out there who loved science as kids but never[/q1]
[q1]> pursued it as a career. As a kid I loved science, did independent reading voraciously, and[/q1]
[q1]> collected fossils. At some point in high school I lost my enthusiasm. I'm not sure why. Science[/q1]
[q1]> suddenly became unappealing. It seemed dry and sterile, devoid of emotion. Now I wish I'd stuck[/q1]
[q1]> with it. Anyone with similar experiences?[/q1]
0
Ron & Lydia Kid
Badges:
#5
Report 17 years ago
#5
Hi guys, I teach chemistry to 11th graders. Most of them lose enthusiasm for the reasons Kevin
enumerated. They think chemistry is nothing but explosions and huge fireballs. They have no concept
that my 30 second demonstration took me a hour to set up. They can't do simple basic 8th-9th grade
algebra 1; they have no idea how to graph data. The middle school teachers either can't or won't
teach them how to think, much less how to memorize the times tables so they just give them
calculators. Most of my students have expensive ($100+) calculators. One student used it to
subtract 8 from 10. She got 3!!!!! It took her 3 minutes to find the mistake. A $14.95 Wal-mart
calculator took me thru a Masters. If I had the money to have stayed in school, it would have taken
me thru a Ph. D.

"zippy" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
[q1]> [email protected] (Kevin Killion) wrote in message[/q1]
news:<[email protected]>...
[q3]> > > I'm interested in hearing from "underachievers" out there who loved science as kids but never[/q3]
[q3]> > > pursued it as a career. As a kid I loved science, did independent reading voraciously, and[/q3]
[q3]> > > collected fossils. At some point in high school I lost my enthusiasm. I'm not sure why.[/q3]
[q3]> > > Science suddenly became unappealing. It seemed dry and sterile, devoid of emotion. Now I wish[/q3]
[q3]> > > I'd stuck with it. Anyone with similar experiences?[/q3]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > I can imagine that the two big pedagogy camps would hypothesize as[/q2]
follows:
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > The progressive/contructivist camp would say, "Burnout happens when kids are forced to read dry[/q2]
[q2]> > text, to complete worksheets, and to take tests[/q2]
on
[q2]> > content knowledge, eventually killing their enthusiasm."[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > The instructivist/academic content camp would say, "Burnout happens because all of these garish[/q2]
[q2]> > picture books and hands-on experiments can only sustain interest at a surface, juvenile level,[/q2]
[q2]> > and they deaden children's skills at mastering substantive detail. When science becomes more in[/q2]
[q2]> > depth in high school, they have no foundation for appreciating science on that level."[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > As usual, elements of both may be correct, or both may be correct for different children.[/q2]
[q2]> >[/q2]
[q2]> > -- Kevin Killion[/q2]
[q1]>[/q1]
[q1]> The instructivist/academic camp is on the money. My experience with chemistry bears this out. It[/q1]
[q1]> may have been chemistry that nailed the lid down on science as a career for me. Until I took[/q1]
[q1]> chemistry in 10th grade, science had been entirely description and experiments, even 9th grade[/q1]
[q1]> bio. Chemistry was a real culture shock. There I was working out cryptic equations that seemed[/q1]
[q1]> suspiciously like math. I was confused. Where were the bubbling test tubes and frothing flasks?[/q1]
[q1]> And what did math have to do with science? They had always been separate "subjects." Never had the[/q1]
[q1]> twain met. Occasionally, an instructor would make some platitudinous comment about mathematics[/q1]
[q1]> being the "queen of sciences" or something, but that was as far as the connection went. I had[/q1]
[q1]> never been told that math and science were virtually inseparable and that a scientist's math[/q1]
[q1]> skills must be nearly equal those of mathematician. I heard once from a PhD geologist who had a[/q1]
[q1]> similar experience. His elementary school education actually had him believing he could become a[/q1]
[q1]> scientist without math skills. Fortunately he wised up in time and crammed himself with math[/q1]
[q1]> independently in high school and college. This shouldn't be happening, but I imagine it's quite[/q1]
[q1]> common. As for the progressive/contructivist camp, they need to realize that dryness and drudgery[/q1]
[q1]> are a regrettable but necessary step in science/math education. Life is not all fun and games. And[/q1]
[q1]> the earlier the boring stuff is introduced, the better. Elementary school children are learning[/q1]
[q1]> sponges, with an appetite for knowledge its own sake. I was like that at one time. If the boring[/q1]
[q1]> stuff is not learned then, it never will be. Anyone who can do elementary algebra, for instance,[/q1]
[q1]> can do chemistry. I wish I had had it at the junior high level—the equations, memorizing the[/q1]
[q1]> periodic table, everything. I feel I could have handled it in 7th grade or even 6th.[/q1]
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