Methods information taught, they often do not understand

Methods of science teaching are constantly changing and new approaches aimed at capturing the attention of today’s students are arising daily. Due to rapid advances in technology in the last thirty years, Millennials/Generation Y (individuals born between 1982 and 2002) and more current generations (Generation Z) tend to have a lower tolerance for and lower academic achievement with traditional pedagogies (Roehl et al., 2013). In general, when one refers to traditional science pedagogies, they are referring to classrooms that are composed of teacher-centered learning and passive learning, in which students are completely dependent on teachers to give them content information. Educators in these environments teach their students science with the understanding that students will only get information through them or in some rare cases, through outside library research. Teachers often present information through a combination of oral lectures, PowerPoint slides, articles, and written papers. Then, students are expected to memorize and to reproduce the lecture information, commonly without even thinking about it, to prove their understanding of the content.

Although students may seem to know the information taught, they often do not understand or comprehend the science content enough to apply it to a bigger problem. This, as a result decreases student interest. Furthermore, it has been shown time and time again that student’s attention declines after the first ten minutes of lecture. Immediately after lectures students tend to retain about half of the information taught.

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This fraction is halved after a week has passed (Hartley et al., 1967). This passive style of learning minimizes time allotted for students to engage in critical thinking and connect information to application (Bergmann & Sams, 2012). Although there is little to no evidence of student’s engagement in the class or in material, in-class lecture style teaching is still the predominant teaching style across America (Gilboy et al., 2015).

Putting aside the fact that traditional science classrooms might have been accepted as the most effective pedagogy for science teaching in the in past, the rapid growth in technology and its subsequent effect on the ways in which current students learn science most effectively, increases the need to adjust science teaching strategies. It is generally accepted that successful and effective science teaching contains an understanding and appreciation of the learner’ needs, backgrounds, interests, and learning styles. Thus, as time goes on, educators and researchers must weed through new methods of science teaching to find ones that optimize student achievement for this new student population. Individuals in the current century are expected to have the ability to “think for themselves, pose and solve complex problems, and generally produce knowledge rather than reproduce it (King, 1993).” 

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