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Mastery, Integration and Wonder: The Model That Transforms Science Instruction

The first goal of science instruction is for students to learn science. This requires replacing the ubiquitous “cram-pass-forget” cycle with a pedagogy aimed at learning, mastery and retention. But mastery is not a goal that can be pursued in isolation from the whole realm of qualities that make us human – the immense spectrum of the human spirit and mind. The new model proposed here has mastery firmly in view, but coupled with a fundamental engagement with the human spirit. Our pedagogy must emerge from an anthropology. First, we appeal to the human spirit through the natural human faculty of wonder. Next, we must involve the whole mind in the learning process through integration in four key areas, each of which is of supreme importance to science instruction – epistemology, mathematics, history and language. Finally, we teach for mastery with a fully articulated set of teaching practices. The goal of mastery is supported by the integration, and the entire structure is propelled by the never-ending capacity of humans for marveling at our beautiful world.