Pre-service teachers from Chaminade University were invited to present at the 2017 Hawai‘i Science Teachers Association Conference. Held at Punahou School on March 4, the conference was an opportunity for science educators across the state to connect and promote science education in the schools. In-service teachers and professionals working in science fields presented on a range of topics such as planetary curricula, science fellowships and grants, water management, oceanography and globalized education.
The Chaminade seniors held their own with in-service teachers as they presented on two different learning experiences that are currently part of the Chaminade Elementary Education program. All will graduate in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education.
Students Leimana Kane, Sarah Vinluan, Shirley Xiao and Nicole Molina with their professor, Katrina Roseler, Ph.D. presented on “NASA for Educators.” They recounted their NASA summer experience from the Minority University Research and Education Project, a weeklong, fully-funded institute at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View California. They also provided grade appropriate standards, aligned classroom activities aligned with NASA resources, and answered teachers’ questions.
“To prepare for the conference, I had to recall what we did and how it might be helpful to use NASA data for their lesson,” said Xiao. “Even though I don’t have a lot of teaching experiences, I was still able to teach something new to teachers who have more experience than me.”
Currently a pre-service teacher at Hokulani Elementary School, Kane noted that presenting was a great experience for her as a future teacher, especially when sharing with parents and other faculty members. “It was a great opportunity to see my classmates and teacher present and learn from them,” she remarked. “It was a great chance to network with other teachers and hear their thoughts about what we talked about.”
Vinluan realized from the experience that “teaching professionals are always learning and gaining new knowledge to improve their teaching.” She added, “Teaching professionals are constantly teaching one another and sharing ideas. I will strive to do the same in the future and become a lifelong learner.”
Kane and Dr. Roseler also presented on “Science and Engineering through a Problem-Based Learning.” They discussed the varied implementations of investigations related to the Ala Wai watershed including how students explicitly engaged in science and engineering practices. They also discussed the learning opportunities created in classrooms that addressed the water pollution concerns surrounding the Ala Wai watershed.
“Our Chaminade pre-service teachers are already beginning to participate in professional development experiences alongside in-service teachers,” Dr. Roseler noted with pride. “Research indicates that elementary teachers have limited confidence with respect to scientific knowledge/practices and science teaching skills. However, this group of pre-service educators is challenging that model by sharing their ideas and developing their confidence in the area of science knowledge and teaching through participation in this statewide conference.”
Dr. Roseler emphasized how these pre-service teachers were asserting their identities into “their chosen community of practice – teaching” and concluded, “As one of their mentors in science education, it is my responsibility to encourage these pre-service teachers to spread their wings, share their experiences and support their recognition in the field of education.”