Science teaching philosophies: making decisions in a real world context


Taipei American School science teachers have a specific teaching philosophy that focuses on teaching students to interpret basic scientific literacy. Science subjects mainly teach students to make educated decisions based upon scientific data. “Science literacy helps to illuminate the world and also empowers people,” Science Department Head Mr. David Iverson said. 

The subject of science is centered around the development of a science student’s ability to think and interpret content, but Mr. Iverson believes science teachers tend to focus too much on teaching content instead of expanding the scope of teaching. 

In the TAS course catalog, the science curriculum overview section includes a quote from Isaac Newton, “I do not know what I may appear to the world; but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” Mr. Iverson adds that this quote has been in the catalog for the past decade. He hopes that students can feel like scientists, and find the pleasure in discovery despite the possibility that their future jobs may not be related to science. 

The science teaching philosophy exists not only within a teaching context but also in a student’s own perspective. Christine W. (‘22) thinks every science teacher’s teaching style differs according to their personality and past experiences as students. 

Christine also noticed how teachers change or continue with the teaching style of their past teachers. “Since science teachers have all been in the same situation as us as students, many of them know what we face each day and are willing to teach accordingly.” Christine said. 

The philosophy behind teaching science also stems from the individual qualities of science teachers. “We do not only look for teachers with outstanding content knowledge,” Mr. Iverson said. The science departments include teachers who are personable, passionate about their subject, and choose to be a teacher to make a difference in the lives of students in their teaching and as a role model.