I just don’t know.

Nov. 18, 2013

IDK…

I don’t know what to write about today because my mind is all aflutter. My father is coming to visit.  This is our first Thanksgiving without Mom.  I’m lecturing over evolution in freshman biology class, which is always dangerous.  God forbid they should actually use their brains and think critically about a difficult concept. “God said it; I believe it that settles it!”  Sigh.  I tried to explain how God would tell Moses about creation in a way Moses could understand.  I’m sure there will be some upset parent calling.  Benjamin Franklin said “We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid.”  Think, people, think! 

I’m supposed to reflect on my reflections about reflective teaching.  As a scientist this is very confusing and touchy-feely.  So what do I think about reflective teaching?  Did you know that there is a peer-reviewed journal called Reflective Practice?  Yeah, professionals in the humanities have been reflecting on reflective teaching for many years.  As scientists we critique our experiments and observations continuously.  Most do not think too much on teaching because “the information is in the book, so just learn it!”  My professors stood in one spot and basically read their notes.  Some were very innovated and used Kodak slides or overheads.  Lab was where we did our experiments and those were demonstrations.  Times have changed!  Now I’m supposed to entertain the students and keep their attention.  We are to engage the students.  Learning is a two way street.  I profess the information and the student learns the information.  After all, I am the Professor and the student is the Learner.  My professors had much better prepared students than I have.  My students are smart enough; they simply don’t have the skills necessary to be successful on the collegiate level and thus, my interest in critical thinking.  As I profess biology I need to be incorporating critical thinking skills.  I need to teach my students HOW to think and study while trying to teach them the information. I have to teach them HOW to reason, HOW to think logically and HOW to incorporate those intellectual traits into their learning.

So, I utilized our common Christian foundation as a way to demonstrate that Jesus was a critical thinker and, thus, we should be critical thinkers.  Learning is a life-long endeavor.  Being Christ-like is a life-long endeavor.  The skills we use to become life-long learners are the same skills we need to be life-long imitators of Jesus our Lord. 

How’s this working?  I don’t know.  I need to collect more data.  I am a scientist, after all.

—jcc

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Catherine Cone

Professor of Biology at East Texas Baptist University

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