Reflections of the SITS 2005 participants.
To me the most significant value of SITS is simply time to think - time to think about what is important in teaching, time to thoughtfully discuss issues with colleagues, time to evaluate my courses and think about improvement. The frantic pace of the school year makes such extended reflection all but impossible. I am teaching a new course this fall, a course which BJU has never before offered and I have never taught. I am miles ahead in preparing for this course compared to where I would be without SITS. Beyond this course, the discussions we have had as a group have sharpened my thinking and deepened my understanding of science and how to teach it.
I have learned a lot by participating in SITS 2005. I feel my thinking has been altered for the better.
I thought the interaction with my colleagues was wonderful. I enjoyed learning that a chemist and engineer look at biology differently. It caused me to think that this information can be presented differently; it depends on your point of view.
I particularly enjoyed the sessions on infusing truth [Bible integration] into our courses. There was so much material. I wish I had more time to digest it.
To me, SITS has been a tremendous help and encouragement for aiding me in my teaching responsibilities. For me, and probably most, if not all faculty members in our division, "time"; is by far our number-one enemy hurdle… What was most rewarding to me was to have significant blocks of time to pursue a given topic and to prepare teaching materials. I have a new course to teach, a laboratory course, and have the need to develop an entire semester of labs, several new labs from scratch, ones not found in traditional lab manuals. In conjunction with this, I am introducing new instrumentation not traditionally used such a course. Large blocks of time in close time proximity are needed to understand the operation of the equipment, develop written instructions, and to plan meaningful experiments that require creative and analytical thought from our students.
The more finely tuned is our understanding of concepts and principles, and their interrelationships, the better we will be as communicators to our students… Along these lines, I am often finding myself now sketching out part of a concept map as I read a section in a text that I am trying to understand and find myself looking for underlying principles.
…Overall I have found the SITS program to be an extremely valuable and rewarding experience. I definitely would feel privileged to be able to return to the program in future years if the opportunity would present itself.
"Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17) epitomizes SITS for me. The opportunity to have my thinking sharpened by my colleagues is invaluable. No amount of solo thinking can substitute for the stimulating atmosphere of SITS. I feel that we are all closer to articulating a biblical ideal for science teaching because of the time we have spent together in thinking and discussion. The time SITS provides to pursue a systematic revision of my thinking about a particular course is priceless. I can test my ideas on my colleagues and ultimately teach them part of the revised product for their appraisal. This process cannot help but improve the quality of what I teach my students during the school year.
Having the time to do thorough research on key topics for this course was a big blessing and enabled me to get some much-needed new perspective. Of equal value was having the time to interact with colleagues both in and out of my department – this was both stimulating and refreshing. A beneficial side effect of this interaction was that I developed a greater understanding of and appreciation for those colleagues. Listening to their ideas was thought provoking and may result in my changing how I approach some things in my teaching. I'm very thankful for the opportunity to participate in SITS, and both my students and I would benefit from future opportunities.