After listening to the comments from our students today, it is clear that they have a lot of fear and anxiety about this course. The trepidation stems from many sources but seems to be focused in two areas (1) a fear of chemistry or an expectation that they “know more than they do” and (2) a lack of appreciate for the ideas behing critical thinking, the 5Es, and what is known about how people learn.
I propose that we come up with a rationale for them themed around the value of critical thinking that explains how and why we’ve structured the class this way. We can use the course blog to do this. My thoughts are to structure a post as I’ve outlined below and then ask them to respond to a question: “Describe a time when you engaged in critical thinking to solve a problem or analyze a situation? What did you gain from that experience?”
A background in theories and evidence about learning/critical thinking
An explanation of the 5E’s we’ve used in our activities and what evidence we have that these work
An explanation of the support we have for the students (and a reassurance that they are ALL capable of being very successful in this course).
[I’m also thinking about maybe putting together a prezi like the one I did for the lab class. That might make more of an impact]