TEACHING CURRICULUM

Helping Teachers Develop a Teaching Curriculum Strategically Organized Around Student Engagement

We are an independent, online consulting service that works with teachers to help them develop a teaching curriculum for using student engagement in explanatory modeling activities to foster the acquisition and use of the kinds of thinking skills that can help their students achieve a deeper understanding of the scientific study of psychological phenomena.

Our focus

Our primary focus is not on improving teaching techniques but rather on helping teachers develop a teaching curriculum that fosters the acquisition and use of these kinds of thinking skills in their students.

What we offer

Our service packages are individually tailored to help teachers develop a teaching curriculum that can enhance students’ depth of scientific understanding.  All our packages include the following curriculum enhancements:

  1. Creating modeling activities that can enhance students’ scientific understanding of a core topic in psychology.
  2. Provide students with recommended strategies for performing these tasks
  3. Provide students with scaffolding (core concepts) for using these strategies
  4. Integrate student engagement in these tasks with teaching methods and instructional resources.

We help teachers create modeling activities that require students to use their knowledge of causal dependencies to construct explanatory models, derive empirically testable hypotheses from these models, and design experiments to test these hypotheses.  Engagement in activities like these have been shown to promote greater depth of scientific understanding in college students (e.g. Clement, 2009).  Scientific explanations enhance understanding by identifying causal dependencies that connect target phenomena to sets of antecedent and background conditions (Strevens, 2008).  Proficiency in using this kind of relational knowledge can enhance students’ ability to derive and test hypotheses about what happens when things change and what happens when things change in certain ways (Woodward, 2003).  The more and wider variety of inferences one can make the deeper one’s understanding is (Ylikoski, 2009).  The recommended strategies for performing these tasks are designed to guide students’ use of causal knowledge to construct and test explanatory models in ways that comply with the practices of specific frameworks in psychology, like behavioral, cognitive, or physiological.  The core concepts include material about the nature of scientific explanations and how scientists use modeling strategies and self-generated diagrams to facilitate reasoning about phenomena.

References

Clement, J. (2009).  Creative model construction in scientists and students.

Springer Verlag.

Strevens, M. (2008).  Depth: An account of scientific explanation. Harvard

University press.

Woodward, J. (2003).  Making things happen: A theory of causal explanation.

Oxford University Press.

Ylikoski, P. (2009).  The illusion of depth of understanding in science.  In H.

deRegt, S. Leonelli, and K. Eigner (Eds.), Scientific understanding:

Philosophical perspectives. University of Pittsburg Press.

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