Scott Hawke
Willamette University
Department of Biology


Science is a liberal arts. Science is liberating. It is our window to the natural world. It can be communicated with understanding to the community, It is corn prehensible.

You, the student, are asked to step outside the confines of the university classroom. Your role becomes that of a "teacher" in a public school setting. The importance of this experiential activity and communjty service is to raise consciousness about your social responsibility--the practice of citizenship. As an integral component of liberal education, you will link an academic preparation in physiology to a practicum in civic education in a grade school. This approach to learning is about doing as well as about listening and learning, but also an opportunity for reflecting on and discussing what is being done.

For this assignment, you and a teammate will be placed in a local elementary school at the upper primary grade level 4-6. As background preparation, read Lauren Resnick's article on differences in learning inside and outside the academy. Each team of students will develop a script or science lesson that will be peer evaluated by having the students present the lessons in the classroom. The reviewed lessons will then be performed by each student in the teams at the elementary schools, The quality of the performances will be assessed by the on-site elementary school teachers. On return to Willamette, each student will write a narrative on the learning experience in the public school setting. The narrative will include a critical appraisal or reflection to explain what was learned, to raise questions or concerns and to describe how the experience changed his/her thinking.

Suggested Scripts Evaluation and Timeline
Bones of the Skeleton Week 1: Develop Team Script
Categorizing Objects
Use of Senses
Week 2: In-House Presentation (Peers)
Response Time
Telling a Fib
Week 3: Field Site Assessment (Teacher)
Irregular Heartbeat Week 4: Critical Narrative Statement
[Professor J/In-Class Sharing
A reflective narrative statement is an efficient and effective means to monitor and evaluate experiential learning. It is important to recognize that the opportunity for reflection is critical to give proper interpretation to the service provided to the community. The components of the narrative statement are as follows:

  1. Heading with student name (and teammate), elementary school where lesson was performed, name of school teacher, grade level and date.

  2. Definition of the learning objectives as criteria for determining what needs are to be analyzed.

  3. Description of relevant details and circumstances so reader will understand physical setting, the people and the dynamics of the situation.

  4. Reflection or critical appraisal of learning experience. How does it relate to vour particular learning objectives? Has it stimulated vou to change vour objectives or identffy new ones? What have you learned from the experience? Has your perspective on yourself been changed and/or reinforced.

  5. Speculation on how this experience impacts on your future, i.e., place in a temporal context.

It is important to recognize this exercise places an emphasis on perception or vour subjective experience. Grading of the narrative will be determined not on whether the teaching experience was superb or a dismal failure. Rather, I am particularly interested in the quality of your reflection (analysis) and its linkage to exploring self.