What are the challenges faced by teachers in teaching science in schools?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Like teachers for all subjects, science teachers are challenged by the harnessing of student focus.  Science is meticulous, requiring a sense of focus and discipline.  Adhering to inquiry, embracing the scientific method, understanding how a hypothesis works, and how to approach it when the answer is not directly evident, the noting of data and the fine tuning of representing data are all very challenging skills to impart into students.  In an educational setting where so many students easily capitulate and "want the answer," science teachers have to find ways in which they are able to stress to students that science is both process and product, recognizing both going hand in hand with one another.  There is little in way of "worksheet" teaching in science and there is little, or should be little in way of, "Here's the answer."  Teaching kids to understand the nature of science and the revelatory power of discovery in the discipline becomes the elements of science that are the most challenging to teach.  As high stakes standardized testing becomes a reality in which "the answer" becomes "the only thing," I think that science teachers face an additional challenge in teaching the value and intrinsic love of process in an increasingly product driven setting.  Finally, I think that being able to broaden science to all students, so that they can move away from a stereotypical notion that science is "just for nerds" is a challenge that science teachers face.  "Science teaching and learning for all" is not a battle cry for science teachers, but represents one of the most important challenges that can be addressed in terms of seeing its application for all students of different narratives and backgrounds.  In my mind, I see these as the challenges that are experienced by all teachers, but in particular those of the sciences.