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Science Education

Program Mission, Goals, and Teaching Philosophy

Our Mission

The Science Education department at Central Washington University provides students with opportunity to develop contemporary skills in science teaching that are consistent with state and national science standards. We promote student understanding of scientific concepts relevant to the individual and to society, and foster an appreciation of scientific inquiry. Our students obtain a broad education covering a wide variety of content disciplines. Our constructivist teaching philosophy, curriculum, and facilities support a rich education experience with small class sizes, hands-on experience, regular interaction with expert faculty, and opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate research. Through cooperative partnerships with local and state organizations, the Science Education department provides opportunity for undergraduate students to develop practical teaching skills in real classrooms. The Science Education department also participates in ongoing science education reform efforts based on state and national science standards.

Our Goals

The goal of the Science Education department is to develop each pre-service teacher to be an effective science teacher who:

  1. Exhibits the breadth and depth of understanding of the natural sciences necessary for their grade level endorsement as summarized in the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements for Science.
  2. Demonstrates critical thinking skills by
    • developing age-appropriate lessons using auditory, visual and kinesthetic components.
    • developing age-appropriate lessons which relate science and technology to the everyday and diverse lives of students, based on students' needs, interests, and abilities.
    • selecting appropriate modeling, discussion and laboratory exercises to help students learn science problem solving.
    • making effective use of peer, family, and community members and resources to improve students' education in science.
    • creating useful evaluations that show what students know and can do.
  3. Analyzes and evaluates her or his own teachings behavior and effectiveness, and implements changes based on these observations.
  4. Fosters a positive attitude toward teaching and learning science, toward continual professional development in the sciences, and can compare and contrast science with other ways of knowing.

Our Teaching Philosophy

The Science Education department at Central Washington University has high standards of instruction that prepare elementary, middle-level, and secondary pre-service undergraduates to become successful science teachers. The department, consistent with the mission of the University, strives to help students develop lifelong learning skills such as critical thinking that will allow them to become productive members of society. A mechanism whereby academic development and lifelong learning occurs is through interactions with our students that begin with excellent teaching.

The department uses a variety of instructional methods that strongly emphasize social constructivist methods that include the learning cycle model. Through individual effort and small group collaboration, students develop contemporary instructional skills that emphasize inquiry, problem solving, and critical thinking. Through this mechanism, students develop content knowledge and analytical skills, and in this way become scientifically literate. The processes of scientific inquiry are strongly emphasized across our curriculum and form the foundation of the Science Education department. Hands-on exploration, analysis, and evaluation of scientific concepts and principles are used to help students understand scientific content and to develop into excellent teacher of science.