Dr. Ellen Yezierski, Chemistry Teaching Specialist, Visits BHS

Ben Ryan, Journalism Student

Tuesday, May 16th brought scientist Dr. Ellen Yezierski to Bethel High School. Renown for her work in science education, Dr. Yezierski received the 2010 Visiting Scientist Award, allowing her to visit high schools across the country and speak on behalf of her program and inform students that may have prospects of higher education in the science field.

“I see it more reciprocally,” she explains in an interview with Wildcat Word. “I can bring my expertise to the school, every school I learn something new. I get to visit three schools and talk to students, but most importantly I get to do some team teaching and model some new instructional techniques.”

These instructional techniques will, as she hopes, become commonplace in the science education field, and her visit brought them to Ms. Bly, who teaches AP Chemistry. But what, exactly, are these instructional techniques?

“We are studying the impact of rigorous long term and comprehensive professional development on chemistry teaching practices,” reveals Dr. Yezierski. “We are engaging high school teachers in chemistry research, curriculum adaptation and classroom research.”

Her methods include more independent student work, as well as a generally more educated base of chemistry teachers that will better mediate student research. The National Science Foundation funds her research and thus far results have found that Dr. Yezierski’s methods can dramatically improve student achievement.

A true chemistry teacher, Yezierski concludes that, “The most important thing is to help students see how broadly science impacts them and the array of careers students can pressure in the sciences.”