EARTH SCIENCE TEACHER EDUCATION – OUR COMMUNITY, OUR CHALLENGES, OUR FUTURE (Invited Presentation)
The pathways by which we became Earth science teacher educators are varied and, in many cases, non-linear. Our community is diverse in education and current work setting. We hold doctoral and/or master’s degrees in geology, environmental science, astronomy, meteorology, oceanography, geoscience education, and science education. Those in academia come from both two- and four-year, public/private institutions within colleges of science and education, but many of us also work in industry, government, museums, and state and national parks.
We also face common challenges. Earth and space science is often not considered to be a “hard” science like physics, chemistry, and biology; hence, many college-bound high school students have not had geoscience courses beyond 8thgrade and are unaware of career opportunities in our field. There is a shortage of K-12 teachers adequately trained in Earth and space science; thus, many districts are unable to provide their students with high-quality geoscience experiences and knowledge. Elementary education majors often profess an inability to “do science and math” and resist our best efforts to engage them. Furthermore, our curricular challenges often depend on local and state policies.
We propose to create a Division of Earth Science Teacher Education within the National Association of Geoscience Teachers to help support geoscientists of all backgrounds and expertise as they work to communicate Earth science concepts to K-12 teachers, both pre-service and in-service. Current goals include fostering communication and collaboration within our community, outlining our challenges, and supporting research and activities related to our common goals.