“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.”Aristotle
My name is Robert Jones. I am the current Earth and Space Science Teacher at Chaminade Middle School in Chatsworth, CA and this is my eleventh year teaching. I was initially a Film major after my undergrad, even working for Sony Television for two years, until I realized it really wasn’t what I wanted to do. I went back to school and earned my M.Ed in Instructional Design and Technology and have been teaching ever since.
I took the KISA personality test, which resulted in a classification of Introverted Sensing Thinking Judging. The test deemed me a “punctual” “inspector”, with a “keen sense of right and wrong” and a “devotion to duty.” Most of these descriptors would sum up my life as a teacher, and what I feel makes me a good teacher that holds his students accountable and allows me to connect with them. The results of my Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire were also not much of a surprise. I am slightly more Reflective than I am Active, but I lean much more towards Sensing, Visual, and Sequential. I have a photographic memory, which means I have always learned better with visual aids, and I can understand material more clearly if in a sequence, rather than looking at the big picture first.
Both my personality type and learning style lend to my choice of teaching Science, as well as leaning towards favoring Math over the Language Arts. Science, especially the when conducting experiments or labs utilizing the Engineering Process or Scientific Method, are very sequential, and require you to look at all of the pieces in order to understand the big picture. You cannot just say Continental Drift without first understanding the processes that drive it, like sea-floor spreading, convection currents in the mantle, and the slab pull of the plates themselves.
I have always been an advocate for “the little guy” and make sure that my students are treating each other with respect. As my Science classes tend to be very project and lab based, I want to build a sense of camaraderie between myself and my students, as well as each other. I always tell them that Science cannot be conducted in a bubble, and sharing information builds trust with each other and could possibly lead to further discovery. Accountability is also something I hold my students to. If they do something wrong, or break trust with a fellow student, I feel that owning up to what happened is much more productive than making excuses, and allows everyone to move on from the situation. I have noticed over the years, that my students trust me more and more to help them resolve conflicts, even in other classes.
When explaining concepts, I rely heavily on visual aids. With the large concepts of Earth and Space Science, or the really small concepts of Chemistry, students need a visual cue to the information that is being relayed to them, rather than just an explanation. It is also very important for these concepts to be explained in a sequential, broken down format in order for the students to understand the larger concept.
One of the newest things I have begun utilizing this school year is an interactive notebook. Students are given definitions and summaries of a concept, and they then have to fill in questions that the definitions and summaries are answers to (Cornell Notes). On the other side of the notebook, students are then tasked with creating visual aids explaining these concepts, or constructing visual cutouts. This has really helped with sequencing the topics, as well as providing visual aids to check for student understanding.