4.2 Building Community for Teacher-Scholars in Atmospheric Science Education

Tuesday, 24 January 2017: 11:00 AM
308 (Washington State Convention Center )
Todd D. Ellis, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI; and C. J. Shellito, J. A. Knox, D. Kopacz, and W. J. Flynn

On July 21-22, 2016 in Madison, WI, a workshop on Atmospheric Science Education was held as part of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) 2016 Earth Educators Rendezvous.  The goals of this workshop were: 1) to provide an outlet for those teaching atmospheric science at all levels to discuss their teaching, identify key challenges, and begin to develop new pedagogical approaches to address those challenges in their courses, and 2) to begin to build a broader community of practitioners interested in studying effective practices for teaching in the discipline.  

The ten participants and two leaders consisted of early-career faculty (5 members), long-time instructors (7 members, including the facilitators), and some members who taught primarily introductory courses (3 members).  In addition to designing lessons to address specific challenges in the classroom, the group identified a number of difficult concepts to teach in atmospheric science education.  These include, but are not limited to, topics such as thermodynamic principles, radiation laws, Coriolis force, and atmospheric modeling.  The group also discussed what determines teaching effectiveness, including elements of education research design and qualitative and quantitative methods for gathering evidence of learning.  In particular, it was noted that gathering data from large enough sample sizes to allow us to draw generalizable conclusions.    

The workshop concluded with a working session to lay out the next steps to building a community of teacher-scholars in atmospheric science.  Participants expressed a desire to expand the community in order to revitalize and build upon the existing body of knowledge in atmospheric science education.  This community would include established as well as early-career faculty and would allow for members to collaborate in the development of new teaching materials.  The newly developed resources would be classroom-tested, reviewed and eventually shared with the community members for use in their classrooms.  As the community grows, so does our capacity to study the effectiveness of our teaching tools.  In this presentation, we will discuss possible forums and mechanisms for fostering community growth and development

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