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ACM Opinion

A Mission Statement For Science Educators


Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Marvin Druger

"I want students . . . to develop a desire to learn as much about the world and its inhabitants as possible, and to grow as thinking, aware, concerned human beings," says Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Marvin Druger.

Credit: TheScientist.com

Educators, especially in science and mathematics, face extraordinary challenges promoting learning and a desire to learn in their students. Perhaps no one understands the mission of education better than Marvin Druger. A professor emeritus at Syracuse University, Druger spent 55 years teaching science. He shares his experiences teaching over 40,000 students in "Druger's Notebook on Science Education," a feature in the Journal of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Education (JNRLSE). Now these 20+ essays have been collected in a new book, "Practical Perspectives on Science Education," published by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA). The ASA publishes the JNRLSE, where the essays originally appeared. The journal is available online at www.jnrlse.org.

Druger's book represents his thoughts and reflections on the overall mission of teaching. "Biology is an adventure in life," says Druger, who taught primarily introductory Biology. "I want students to share in this adventure, to enjoy the experience, to handle living specimens in the laboratory, to recognize science as a human activity, to recognize the relevance of biology to society and to one’s own personal intellectual framework, to gain knowledge, to think critically about biology, to develop a desire to learn as much about the world and its inhabitants as possible, and to grow as thinking, aware, concerned human beings."

In his teaching, Druger sought to provide meaningful, motivational experiences that enrich the lives of students and help them identify their unique traits and where they fit in life. With this new book, teachers, new and continuing, have the opportunity to peer into the mind of a prolific writer and experienced educator. From tips and insights, to personal reflections, Druger's mission is to inspire science educators, and in turn, inspire the minds of the next generation of scientists.

Essays collected in the book include topics such as "20 Practical Tips for College Science Teachers: How to Get Off to a Good Start" and "Education for Life: A Perspective on Teaching Introductory College Science." Druger's teaching experiences have taken him beyond the classroom, and his teaching mission reaches deep into his student's lives.

Druger describes what teaching is about: "Meeting former students everywhere I go; receiving letters and articles from former students; seeing the "light bulbs" turned on in the minds of my students; sensing the excitement of a thoughtful insight; hearing critical questions being asked, and sometimes hearing creative answers; experiencing the good humor of youth and laughing with students; sharing a quest to live the good life to its fullest—that's what teaching is all about. Would I choose this career if I had the choice to make over again? You bet!"

"Practical Perspectives on Science Education" is 138 pages, softcover, and available for $25, from ASA at www.societystore.org.

 


 

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