Is this worthy?
Jul 15th, 2006 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I had the chance to work with students this past week as part of Education Connection’s Pathways to Innovation program. Sue Q asked if I could work with students to flush out ideas for their potential research projects: mess finding at its best. I was very pleased with how well the session went – some really challenging ideas. Some students are so stuck on the basic idea of IV w/ 2 levels. This is so hard to break. The ideas develop too simply.

My interpretation? Instead of hanging out in the mess for a longer period of time, students are trying to get to the problem finding stage too quickly. Results? An ill-conceived problem.

So is this it then? A qualitative study comparing ill-conceived problems to well conceived problems – how students get there and what it all means. Mixed method study looking at some factors of the students? Science Research Temperament? Nature of Science?

Teachers and the Stockholm Junior Water Prize
Jul 2nd, 2006 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I recently had the pleasure to attend the national competition for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize in Atlanta, GA. 42 students and either their teacher or parents converged on the Sheraton Atlanta for what is called “the most prestigious award for water research.” This was a very cathartic experience for me. It is so rare for me to meet and have LOTS of time to talk to teachers who do science research with their students. Only Ray and AJ seem to be into this action in Connecticut and we only meet up for brief periods of time, several times per year.

What did I notice? Great student projects as usual. Smart, well prepared, excited students. But those teachers . . . They had a lot in common. They all seemed to be researchers at one time or another. Wow. How many times have I commented on how you can become a science teacher, get a masters in a scientific field, or whatever and NEVER have a research experience? Yet, here are these teachers, in effect, very successful, and they ALL have done it.

I spoke with some teachers from areas that some metro people might consider “backwoods,” but they are just as on track and knowledgeable about research as anyone I have ever met.

What do I conclude? Teachers of successful research students HAVE DONE research. They have lived the experience and they transfer that experience to their students.

I was lucky to have the amazing opportunity to attend.

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