I would like to respond to Bert Wurzberger’s fear of living with people “masquerading themselves as science teachers.”
Mr. Wurzberger’s most recent letter to the editor has many aspects one could comment on. I shall limit myself to the comments regarding Christine Colella supposedly “masquerading as a science teacher.”
My daughters have participated in the Vermont State Science and Math Fair at Norwich University for the last three years. Christine has been outstanding in her guidance of their research in these science projects and she deserves commendation for her students winning two gold medals and one silver medal on their various projects.
To put this in perspective, 15 gold medals are awarded to the 150-170 student projects entered in the competition!
My daughters chose the topics, did the research, gathered the data, did the statistical analysis, wrote the research papers, created Power Point poster presentations and orally defended their project to three separate judges.
Christine directed my daughters to self-critique their hypotheses, she taught them to scientifically identify the independent and dependent variables in order to test a hypothesis, she directed them to seek outside criticism and then discussed with them as to whether their hypotheses/methods/results/conclusions were accurate and clearly stated; she taught them to find and critically read available research relating to their chosen topics, she directed them to seek experts in various fields and question those experts, write letters, and meet with them.
When my daughter Lexie wanted to learn advanced GIS software to test her hypothesis, Christine immediately arranged for the company to donate the expensive software and then arranged for tutorials to learn it and apply it.
And finally, using the Socratic method, Christine challenged my daughters to address ideas for further research on the same topic.
The list of Christine’s talents as a science teacher is endless and her leadership is sophisticated, professional, and completely dedicated to teaching students to ask questions and verify answers.
As a disclosure, I was neither a close friend nor did I know Christine well when she offered to work with my daughters. I now have great respect for her abilities as a teacher and I would recommend any student/family who has the time and interest in science to find a teacher such as Christine Colella.