Elaine Ledbetter September 20, 1998

To be most effective I believe a teacher should view herself
as a guide who leads students through familiar territory.
She not only knows their destination, but she is also aware
of the following:

1. There are many different paths which lead to the
same destination: credit in the course;

2. These paths vary in difficulty so she seeks to
encourage each student to follow the one most suited to
his level of ability;

3. Knowing the interest of the student is essential if
she is to guide each one on the path most meaningful for

4. Not all students will progress at the same rate,
so she makes allowances for those who want to linger longer
to more fully savor certain views.


I regard the nurture of creativity to be one of the most
important goals of any teacher, but most especially sci-
ence teachers. Therefore, I conducted a study with my
classes in the mid-60's which clearly indicated that cre-
ativity could be stimulated and nurtured, That won the
STAR Award from NSTA and led to the creation of my text-
book, Keys to Chemistry.

The examples I use here for illustrative purposes are in-
dicative of the activities found throughout the textbook.

A. Building on innate curiosity. Have students list
a number of things they wonder about, Encourage them
to design experiments to answer their own questions. Then
let them to go into the laboratory to conduct their own
experiments. The only requirement is that their procedure
be approved prior to going to the lab, This is a safety pre-
caution .

B. Skill in proposing hypotheses. Present students
with certain information and ask them to propose a hy-
pothesis as to what happens and/or why it happens. Ex-
a. Mix 25 mi water with 25 mi alcohol and
explain why the total volume is less than 50 mi.
b. Place colored water in a ·set of capillary
tubes and explain the difference in levels after a short pe-
riod of time.

C. Improving descriptive ability.
    a. Describe music to one deaf from birth.
    b. Describe a rainbow to one blind from birth,
    c. Describe the feel of velvet to one with no
           sense of touch.
    d. Describe the odor of freshly cut grass to
         one with no sense of smell.

D. Credit is given for the following types of creative
work: bulletin boards, posters, bumper stickers, essays,
poetry, cartoons, models, etc. All these must be chemistry
and/or science related.


If we can provide opportunities for these kinds of activities
for students, then education can truly become a life-long
process. Students will retain the capacity for childlike
wonder, a persistent curiosity and a sense of excitement
in living. All may stand taller, and walk with more assur-
ance because they will have learned that within them-
selves lies the power to live creatively.


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