The international field experiences in the Teachers for Global Classrooms program are to be steered by a “guiding question” that will inform our professional practice. Our pursuit of answers to this question should drive where we visit, who we talk to, and what questions we ask throughout our travels. During the 2017 Teacher for Global Classrooms symposium, we spent some time drafting our guiding question. Since I have multiple professional practices--I’m a science teacher, an educational technology specialist, and a teacher trainer--I haven’t been able to determine a single guiding question. Instead, I worked with a pair of guiding questions, each of which is focus on one of my roles. Currently, my guiding questions are:
How is the scientific mindset manifested in different cultures? That is, how does having a scientific mindset in the Philippines look different (or similar) to having on in the United States? I’ve become increasingly interested in ways that a scientific mindset can be utilized outside of purely scientific fields. I’m wondering if the scientific mindset I’ve been exposed to all my life is global in nature, or if I’ve only been exposed to an American take on science. Supporting questions: Does science play a different role in different cultures? Do different cultures approach science education differently?
How can we best develop and support science and math teachers throughout the world? I’ve spent a great deal of time over the past 5-10 years thinking about how we can produce more great science and math teachers in America. As a result of the global themes I’ve encountered in the coursework of this fellowship, I’ve recently realized that the world needs great STEM teachers, too! I’d like to investigate this global need by looking for common threads (or differences of note) exist in teacher preparation programs between the U.S. and the Philippines? How do cultural attitudes towards teachers, economic realities, or variation in teachers’ roles impact challenges to teacher development?
Ideally, I’d like to unify these two questions into a single, all encompassing question. So far, I have been unable to figure out a way to do that in a way that preserves the essence of each question. It may not be possible. That said, I’m planning on revising these questions as my field experience approaches, and I’ll likely revise them further during the experience itself.
IMAGE: Photo of my guiding question brainstorming notes.