Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Twas the Night Before the Workshop

I'm sitting here in my hotel room - after finishing season 4 of Game of Thrones - and there is no was I'll sleep a wink with the workshop starting tomorrow.

I am so fired up - I mean who can sleep with a crazy 3 week starting in the morning?  

I get very contemplative at these moments.  The burning questions on my mind are, why do I even do these workshops?  What is the  point to all of this?  Why do I spend 4 weeks away from my wife and kids?  How do I ask the participants to do the same?  

I know - I mean I really know - in my heart that this is the right think to do.  Actually having the unmitigated support of my wife, who calls these modeling workshops "my destiny" gives me the idea that I'm doing the right thing.

I look back on my own experience (it was the summer of 2000) and know that it changed my life.  I am sure I'll tell that story tomorrow.  So many of the successful modelers that I know tell similar stories - a good modeling workshop can change your life.  

That is why I do this.  It would be selfish not to share that experience with as many people as possible.  

That is a lot of pressure to put on myself, but its easy with the modeling workshop!
The problem is that the modeling framework puts students in a position to question their conceptions of their physical world.

The modeling workshop puts teachers in a position to question their conceptions of teaching and learning.  That is a very uncomfortable position for a teacher to be in.  The teachers that show up at the workshop are often very successful veteran teachers.  My job is to challenge them, to ask them to give up the methods that have been working, to adopt a new method that seems crazy!  

Although the modeling method is in agreement with much of the progressive ideas about teaching and learning science (including the NGSS) is seems to be in direct conflict with much of the rhetoric we hear from administrators around the state (not that I listen).  This is challenging for teachers trying to adopt a new methodology.  

I hope that I have the courage of my convictions and am able to pass on the quality experience that I and so many modelers that I know had in their workshops.


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