Science lacks emphasis

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By Andrea Aguirre

By Andrea Aguirre

Reading, writing and math.

These tend to be the top three subjects that elementary education majors focus on while studying in college.

A recent national survey suggests that college students should also pay just as much attention to the way they are being trained to teach science.

The recent survey conducted by the Bayer Facts of Science Education X, which polled the United States’ newest elementary school teachers, shared that out of all subjects, science is the one that most teachers wished they had gotten a more in-depth preparation for during their college or university teacher training programs.

“In fact, one in three new (elementary and middle school) teachers say they rely more on what they learned in high school than college to teach science today,” the Bayer survey press-release states.

“Elementary teacher education programs should require their undergraduates to take more coursework both in science itself and in science training methods,” the survey said.

It is not uncommon for college students majoring in elementary education to focus their studies exclusively on math and English and let science education take a backseat simply because its too difficult or they have no interest in the subject.

What most soon-to-be teachers need to be aware of is that the significance of science in elementary school education is just as equal as that of math or English.

These facts are not surprising or uncommon, due to the fact that science courses tend to be the ones that students in high school tend to struggle with the most, because of their lack of preparation and knowledge that they should have gained while in elementary schools.

“Instead of providing students with an interesting, hands-on approach to science, most elementary school teachers are teaching students through worksheets and vocabulary,” said Terry Shaw, associate professor of zoology and biology here at Riverside Community College.

“It’s important to invest an interest in science in elementary school students; that way they won’t be struggling when they take these courses later on in high school,” he said.

But to fix the struggles that students are having in high school science courses, it is vital to first correct the way that they are being introduced to these new subjects in elementary and middle school and how their teachers are teaching them early on.

While this problem may even be occurring here on RCC’s campus, there will be a solution for students soon.

There are several extra programs being developed here at RCC and at the University of California, Riverside to give the elementary education majors the little extra attention and help that they need in the science field to better prepare them.

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