Another dot in the blogosphere?

Lighting a candle

Posted on: February 22, 2014


Apparently you can relight a candle by igniting the smoke of a recently extinguished candle.

If you were a science teacher and you learnt this “trick”, would you leverage on the wonderment this generates and make it a teachable moment? Or would you ask your learners to find out why? What else might you do?

What you do depends on many things, of course. If you are pressured by a packed curriculum and tests that dictate what to cover, then you might do neither.

What you might want to do reflects your teaching philosophy.

Leveraging on the teachable moment could be the mark of a creative and responsive teacher. But I think that an educator who gets his/her students to investigate why the candle smoke lights up a candle helps his/her students learn to think and act like scientists.

The first person focuses on teaching that hopefully leads to learning. The second focuses on the learner and learning. The first person might want students to learn ABOUT science. The other wants students to BE scientists.

It might have been William Butler Yeats who declared:

Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.

Which would you rather do? Which would you rather be? Which do our kids need more?

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