Teaching with the Next Generation
Science Standards

Posted by Francis Vigeant on Oct 21, 2016

Core Beliefs Unite Teams

Core beliefs

The values that every member of a team shares are the core beliefs, which unite that team and enable it to create environments where true challenge and learning can occur.

To create an environment and a culture where students are pushed to step into unknowns and take risks that they're not quite ready for is the purpose of the Next Generation Science Standards. Bettering students and helping them succeed is at the root of every value related to school, and the nexus of those values—those that every member of a team agrees upon—are what unite us.

Those values are much more important than figuring out who is the smartest in the room. Who cares? Talent is common. Everybody is talented at something. What we do with that talent, the effort that we put in, is what's going to determine our success. It's going to be our determination quotient in a sense, which we ourselves all control individually. Picking and sticking to direction will help us go far, and that's a very important message to communicate to students.

What reflects our values?

Ensuring that the modes of instruction employed reflect the values of school, our school, and our classrooms is very important to creating environments in which HOT (higher order thinking) and challenge flourish.

For students, this is a major crossover point where the instructional model changes from one in which innate talent is praised to one in which continuing effort in the face of mistakes or errors is lauded. That's why we have new standards. That's why we've rearranged Bloom's Taxonomy so that creating, evaluating and analyzing happen simultaneously. If we focus on those higher order thinking skills, the next question is: What about the mode of instruction reflects our values? We would submit to you that that traditional model does not uphold these values, while the next generation mode of instruction does so elegantly. We should keep those pieces that align with the spirit of NGSS, and discard the modes of instruction that do not.

It's about being authentic, student-centered, inquiry-based and understanding by design. It is not about focusing on test prep, on ad hoc lesson plans you get off the Internet, on backward-looking models of instruction that rely heavily on textbooks. It is about living our values with instruction that is in line with that next generation model. The resources that you have developed or designed to date may require revision in order to ensure that the details of execution fall into the next generation mode of instruction. This takes us to what we do, which we will cover in the next blog post.

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