Re-framing best practice for better results
After 25 years of teaching, Craig Julseth is finally hitting his stride. “I feel like I’m actually just starting to figure out what it really is to be a teacher.” For Craig, being a teacher means teaching students how to learn. He has his “I win” moments when his students have their “I win” moments, and they get there together through Integrative Thinking.
"When you let go of the class, and when the student voice is the voice that's being heard, they're generating the questions, and they're answering the questions themselves. All you're doing is standing on the side guiding it, with these strategies in place."
At first, Craig was overwhelmed by the I-Think strategies. He could easily imagine their applications in an elementary or humanities context, but struggled when it came to his own secondary science classroom. Craig had his a-ha moment when he realized that the Ladder of Inference could be used to enhance the scientific method - the focus of much of his teaching - instead of replace it.
"When it came to me, it all came back to my unwillingness to give up the scientific method [...] Students are really good at coming up with a hypothesis, doing the experiment, and making observations. The problem lies in the jump between making the observations, and then understanding what they mean. The Ladder of Inference helps students build a bridge from observations, to conclusions."
Now, Craig sees his best practices in a new light, and feels energized as a result.