Rationale for Student Reflections
As elaborated in the video at right (below on phones), based on constructivist learning theory, we recommend that teachers facilitate students’ expressions (e.g., verbally or in writing, etc.) of their reflections on their current attitudes, skills & knowledge (ASK) that may apply to one or more topics (e.g., plant structure & function) that the teacher plans to teach. Once students become more conscious of their existing ASK, they may be better prepared to possibly change them – as they see fit – when exposed to alternative ASK, such as those presented by the teacher (e.g., in Teacher Teaches phase of the 3-phase STEPWISE pedagogy). Refer below for sample strategies for this phase, including as video-based suggestions & resources.
Stimulating Student Reflections/Expressions
The teacher can encourage students to reflect on and express their existing ASK by providing them with stimuli, such as pictures of STEM products, as at right/below, and then asking them to describe and evaluate them. To help ensure students feel free to express their ASK (and not try to guess what the teacher thinks is correct), teacher instructions & questions should be mostly student-directed & open-ended (see Lock (1990) model). Teacher instructions and questions should, in other words, err on the side of divergence – allowing for many different responses. Questions asked might include: ‘What do you like/dislike about the commodity, and why?,’ ‘What other people & groups might like/dislike the commodity, and why?,’ and, ‘For harms related to the commodity, what should be done to overcome them and what work might be necessary to do so?’ If done effectively, such questioning can promote divergent thinking. Indeed, such diversity can be encouraged by, for example, asking students to evaluate different people’s controversial positions relating to STEM processes & products – such as this STSE Cartoon or from this list of possible STSE actions.