Every education major at Gannon has to do field placements where they go into a classroom at a nearby school to observe teachers, interact with students and learn more about the field of education. Usually, field placements are tied in with education classes. This semester, I am taking Concepts of Natural Science, which is a class where you learn how to teach science. Attached to this class is a 30-hour field experience for education majors whose content area is not science.
At the beginning of this semester, I heard that my field work would be at Asbury Nature Center, which is a place where students from elementary school through high school go on field trips to learn about science. Ms. Melissa Martin, the adjunct professor who teaches Concepts of Natural Science also teaches at Asbury Nature Center, and I would be working with her and her colleagues to learn about teaching science.
There are many things I am personally excited about regarding this field experience. First of all, my concentration is English/Language Arts, so experiencing material outside my concentration is new to me.
Even though I do not plan to teach science, there are many techniques I am learning. Asbury Nature Center has two locations for educational experiences. One is at the nature center while another is at Brown’s Farm Barn. So far, I have only been to Brown’s Farm Barn.
The educational experience is a nontraditional classroom environment, and students participate in hands on science experiences. Learning methods of hands-on education is particularly interesting to me. I have so far only had two days of field work, but one thing I noticed about many of the outdoor activities there is that the students do not realize that they are learning. As far as they know, they’re just playing in the creek. But they are actually learning many scientific facts about the environment which Professor Martin believes they will remember long after they leave the field trip.
Because the focus is on gaining real life experience, I realized I could use many of these similar techniques when leading a large group of students in a hands-on learning environment. For example, I am learning how to capture the attention of a bunch of easily distracted students who are outdoors and around many distractions. I think this is a great placement where I am learning many classroom management strategies that I can use when I am a teacher.
One strategy Professor Martin explained was using call and response (which is where the teacher cues the students to finish her sentence). So far, I have realized that it forces the students to respond. Another strategy I noticed her use was always asking the students questions because it the forces students to think about the science they are observing.
Throughout this placement, I cannot wait to learn about more management strategies and hands on education techniques.