Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why oh why...

... is it so hard for me to blog about the professional stuff?
I teach and I think a lot about teaching. As I teach science, I think a lot about science and science education. I am slowly implementing more and more the flipped classroom idea- less lecturing, more dynamic stuff. I do case studies routinely, run experiments in class, force my students to do different things- lately it has been wikis and blogs. I am experimenting with Softchalk. So I do work the teaching stuff, but to write about it is a different ballgame. I came to science teaching from science, not from teaching. So there are a lot of buzzwords that I am not familiar with. It reminds me a bit of people who are good with the Bible and quote verses of it, which is very impressive (especially if you are not that well-versed in the Bible like me).
The other day I visited a postdoc friend at a research institute. It was lunchtime and I overheard the conversation at the neighboring table. "Stem cells...differentiation...upregulate." All good science lingo. So thick that I am glad am not there anymore. When I teach about stem cells to my undergrads I will say "upregulate" and then add "increase the expression" right away. If the looks are still blank, I will add "more molecules will be produced." It took me some time to learn not to use a language that creates a barrier. 
Is it the same with education and particularly, technology applied to education? I feel so. Take this example from an otherwise excellent educational blog: "In spite of the growing support for the social-cultural, situated, social constructivist, distributed, hermeneutic and dilogical nature of learning and cognition; educational, business and cultural practices remain firmly rooted in a paradigm of individualism.." Huh
I believe that if I dedicated enough time and effort I could speak that way too- but I don't think I want to do that. Waste of my time, in my opinion. I wish only I had the courage of WorstProfessorEver to say so bluntly. 
So going back to the beginning, why is it so hard for me to blog about the teaching stuff? I spent the morning in class, first in a Micro lab that I adapted to an accelerated class of 32 and a slightly frazzled technician (she is great but she is new, and the more experience tech just quit). To my amazement, things worked and students seemed to grasp what they were doing. Then there was a quiz, the usual pouting after the quiz, a lecture on epidemiology and a short practice with case studies. By then the class had wound down to less than 20. We were sitting tired in the classroom, discussing rice water diarrheas and nosocomial infections.  They were asking questions and commenting, telling horror stories from their families and workplaces. They were getting it. And I felt good. But it does not seem complicated enough to post about it. 


  1. I look forward to reading your blog... I'm also a former researcher and biotech person now teaching full time (microbiology, a&p, and biotechnology) in a CC in Alabama. Your educationese quote made me burst out laughing!

  2. Hey, thanks! Nice to meet people with similar backgrounds :) Do you have the same experience regarding lingos?