responsibility for their learning. Teachers give students the opportunity to participate in setting goals, planning activities, assessing work, and designing the environment. In so doing, they give students responsibility for a significant part of their own learning, the learning of the group, and the functioning of the community.
[See Improving Classroom Practice in the Assessment Standards]
[See Content Standards A & G (all grade levels)]
NURTURE COLLABORATION AMONG STUDENTS. Working collaboratively with others not only enhances the understanding of science, it also fosters the practice of many of the skills, attitudes, and values that characterize science. Effective teachers design many of the activities for learning science to require group work, not simply as an exercise, but as essential to the inquiry. The teacher's role is to structure the groups and to teach students the skills that are needed to work together.
STRUCTURE AND FACILITATE ONGOING FORMAL AND INFORMAL DISCUSSION BASED ON A SHARED UNDERSTANDING OF RULES OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOURSE. A fundamental aspect of a community of learners is communication. Effective communication requires a foundation of respect and trust among individuals. The ability to engage in the presentation of evidence, reasoned argument, and explanation comes from practice. Teachers encourage informal discussion and structure science activities so that students are required to explain and justify their understanding, argue from data and defend their conclusions, and critically assess and challenge the scientific explanations of one another.
[See Content Standard A (all grade levels)]
MODEL AND EMPHASIZE THE SKILLS, ATTITUDES, AND VALUES OF SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY. Certain attitudes, such as wonder, curiosity, and respect toward nature are vital parts of the science learning community. Those attitudes are reinforced when the adults in the community engage in their own learning and when they share positive attitudes toward science. Environments that promote the development of appropriate attitudes are supported by the school administration and a local community that
Effective teachers design many of the activities for learning science to require group work, not simply as an exercise, but as essential to the inquiry.
has taken responsibility for understanding the science program and supports students and teachers in its implementation.
Communities of learners do not emerge spontaneously; they require careful support from skillful teachers. The development of a community of learners is initiated on the first day that a new group comes together, when the teacher begins to develop with students a vision of the class environment they wish to form. This vision is communicated, discussed, and adapted so that all students come to share it and realize its value. Rules of conduct and expectations evolve as the community functions and takes shape over the weeks and months of the school year.
Some students will accommodate quickly; others will be more resistant because of the responsibilities required or because of discrepancies between their perceptions of what they should be doing in school and