TEACHER FOCUS: Teacher Shares Chemistry in Kennebunk

This is the first post in a new “Teacher Focus” series, highlighting outstanding educators in our schools. FWSU is proud of the great work its teachers do every day.

BFA High School Teacher Tom Pfeiffer will be spend the next two weeks in Kennebunk, ME. Kennebunk is a great spot to vacation, but for Tom this is no vacation. He is spending his time teaching a class on Modeling Instruction in Chemistry.

Tom explained that,

modeling instruction is a student-centered approach to teaching. Rather than emphasizing the acquisition of knowledge by transmission, students carry out experiments, create models, and then apply these models to new situations. As we move through the course, we discover that these models have to be refined or modified.”

Mr. Pfeiffer has been using this pedagogy in his class for years. Again he states:

“Peer instruction is a big part of modeling. Students present data from experiments to class, discuss results and reach consensus. They also work through problems in their groups, then present these problems to the class, which helps to develop their understanding of the model and how it applied. The role of the teacher in modeling instruction is different than the traditional way of teaching science. The teacher sets the stage for students to make observations, confront their often mistaken preconceptions about concepts. Rather than dispensing information, the teacher tries to help the student through the learning process by posing questions that help lead the student to a correct understanding.”

Tom is tweeting resources and ideas from the course he is teaching. You can follow him on Twitter.

Best of luck of Tom!

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