Why is the sky blue?

It seems a pretty simple question and no doubt at least once in your teaching career you will be asked it, but do you know the answer? One of the fundamental parts of being a teachers is knowing the subject area well enough to be able to teach it confidently and answer any questions students may ask. Knowing only the exact content for a unit is rarely enough to teach it effectively. As a teacher you want your students to be engaged and thinking critically about the content. One of the best ways of knowing this is happening is when they are asking questions. However if a teacher is responding “I don’t know” or “I’ll look it up for you” it’s not going to encourage the type of questioning that teachers want to hear. In 2013 Elizabeth Leader-Janssen and Joan Rankin-Erickson were studying teachers content knowledge in English and in their literature review stated “These studies suggest that inservice teachers lack the knowledge in understanding specific features of language (e.g., phonemes and consonant blends), and the impact of this lack of declarative knowledge of language structure is critical when teachers are teaching the early skills of phonemic awareness and decoding.” I think that the same can be said for other subjects, for HPE teachers the problem is even greater it is highly likely that they will have to teach sports that they have never played before, yet they need to be seen as experts by the students.

The issue is that teachers are already busy enough, with all the other responsibilities expected of them. Expecting them to take on more study and become experts is tough. It is fine for teachers who are already experts in their field like a chemistry teacher who studied chemistry at university. But PE teachers are often asked to teach science or maths and need to ‘catch up’ on the content knowledge they are lacking as well as mark assessment ,write lesson plans ,coach sport teams ,organise sport carnivals. Currently the only way to learn content is to search around themselves and depending on their skill and the topic it could take hours to get a decent grasp of the concept. Chewing up valuable time in a teachers day.

So why is the sky blue?

Find out why and tell me

1 Where you found it and 2 how long it took you.

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