April 15, 2009

Blog Entry 9: Content Areas of Teaching

After reading Santrock Chapter 11 on the content areas of teaching, it got me thinking about my strengths and weaknesses in regard to this subject.

I believe I have a strength in subject matter knowledge, but I need to improve in my pedagogical knowledge of subject areas. I have a hard time (with the exception of reading) getting someone else to understand the steps to a process. It's hard for me to teach someone else something I already understand. I hope to gain more of a working knowledge on how to go about learning methods of teaching content to students.

My strengths in regard to subject matter are, by far, reading and writing. I've always excelled in these subject areas. In the early elementary grades, I was reading slightly above grade level and I really enjoyed reading for enjoyment. When it got to be around 5th grade or so, I didn't really read for enjoyment anymore because we started having to read for assignments and doing book reports and Accelerated Reader and such. These things just got me to think of reading negatively because, most of the time, I would end up having to read something I wasn't even remotely interested in. I ended up hating reading until probably my sophmore or junior year in high school when I started finding out books that seemed interesting to me. What also helped was, in high school, we had to completele "Reading Mods" (we had modular scheduling). Every quarter, we had to complete 20-25 reading mods (roughly 16 minutes each). We could read any book we wanted. This allowed me more freedom in choosing what I could read and I came back to loving reading again. I still usually read around 8 or more books (in my free time) per year.

Two content areas I struggle with are math and science. I was never really good at math. Ever since 6th grade, I've needed extra help a lot of the time. In junior high and my freshman and sophmore years of high school, I had HORRIBLE math teachers. I didn't learn well with them because they weren't really doing a very good job of actually teaching me the material. My junior and senior years however, my math teachers were amazing! They taught the math in a way that didn't make me feel dumb and I actually understood how to do a lot of the things. I had a love/hate relationship with math these two years. I enjoyed some of the stuff, but it was extremely time consuming and required a lot of thought.

Science on the other hand is different. By only looking at my grades, you would think I was great at it. I've gotten A's and B's in all the classes and, in particular, really enjoyed biology. Science though has always required a TON of effort and concentration on my part. My sophmore year, I spent most of my time working on chemistry either by myself or with a tutor and I feel like, in the end, I really deserved the A I got in it. But it wasn't easy.

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