Monthly Archives: March 2010

How Scientists Think?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about, “How Scientists Think?”  I’m excited to be working on an innovative curricula project here at UBC centered around science as a way of knowing.

…more about this later…

To this end, I just read this article, “How Scientists Think in the Real World: Implications for Science Education” by Kevin Dunbar.

According to the article, scientists are particularly stimulated by unexpected results, love making analogies, and work best in groups.  I’d say, “That’s about right!”

In thinking about how my teaching strategies align with these values, I came up with a short list of ideas.  Encourage group work, practice using analogies, explicitly encourage the use of analogy by students, and ready students for the unexpected.

Is an e-portfolio worth the effort?

I was recently asked how I would respond to PhD students who are in the process of putting together their own teaching portfolios and are wondering, “Is it really worth the effort?”

Here are my thoughts:

1) Putting together your e-portfolio is a valuable chance for personal reflection.  I found that the process of putting together my e-portfolio helped me to summarize and evaluate my own teaching skills and philosophy towards education.  You can look at the experiences you’re documenting in your portfolio and see your own personal strengths and weaknesses.  This kind of critical evaluation can be really valuable in job applications, interview scenarios AND for your own personal growth.

2) I’ve used my e-portfolio in at least two different job applications (required in the academic world).  Having an e-portfolio at the ready made it a lot easier to apply for jobs quickly.  Outside of academia, having an up-to-date e-portfolio helps you see your own personal strengths and weaknesses – and have lots of examples at the ready for interviews, cover letters etc.  It’s like having an ubber resume at the ready.

3) An e-portfolio helps you get organized.  I used to have a binder / really big pile of stuff that I wanted to put together into a teaching portfolio.  Honestly, it was a big effort to get the e-portfolio started but I enjoyed the process.  I like using wordpress and now that I’ve got it started updating is easy.