Christine, Wondering

Random Musings of a Human Becoming

Monday, April 16, 2007


So I'm sitting in the food court at lunchtime today, dutifully doing my readings before my science curriculum class. One particular reading, which was concerned with engaging students in science subjects, began with a charming little vignette of a hot, dusty, disgruntled scientist suddenly realising that she had discovered the toe bone of a previously unknown species of dinosaur.

That was all well and good until the writer revisited this vignette halfway through the chapter. I quote:

"As noted earlier, you should think of childrens' role in discovery learning as that of scientist - say, the archaeologist we met at the beginning of this chapter."
(my bold)

*bangs head on desk*

The paper in essence was an inoffensive, if pedestrian, discussion of the process of helping children make scientific discoveries of their own through guided yet open experiments. But what I really learned from it was: always check what words mean, especially subject-specific terminology, because if you get it wrong, there will be a student who knows more about the subject than you do, they will call you out on it, and you will lose the students' respect if you are shown up for pretending to know what you're talking about. Admitting that you don't know something is okay, but bluffing and bulldanging with confidence is a bad, bad idea. I find it painfully embarrassing that this chapter - from a book which used to be the unit text book - went to print without anyone having once looked up the definition of the word "archaeologist". They assumed that they knew what it meant, and went with that.

I've turned this experience into a bit of a mantra, and I would suggest that any other teachers or prospective teachers out there attempt to remember it too:

Never use terminology unless you've double-checked the meaning . . .
because archaeologists don't study dinosaurs.

(image is of a poster from

Moving on . . . this happens to be my 100th post to this blog (yay!) and it seems apt that it should contain both main components of the blog: philosophy and photos. You've had the philosophy for the day, so here are some photos.

Contented Jemima on the Sunroom floor:

Very cute Jemima on top of her climbing toy:

Dozy Jemima on my window sill:

The kitchen in the new house, which has a lovely old-fashioned feel, for all its lack of surface space (the doorframe isn't really blue, the white has just shown up that way in the close-range camera flash):

The original art deco doorhandles I've been raving about:

That's all for now - more philosophy coming later.


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