The University of Wisconsin-Superior (UW-Superior) takes a distinctly scientific approach to its master's degree programs in education. Accordingly, the school offers a fully online Master of Science in Education (MSE) – Instruction program, giving educators the opportunity to earn a degree and advance their careers without having to take years off of work (and forgo their salary). So why study this scientific approach, as opposed to the approach taken in typical degree programs such as a master of education or a master of arts in education?
The answers are many, as it all really depends on what you want to get out of your education. But one clear benefit to a scientifically based online program is that it allows degree candidates to apply what they learn to their teaching in real-time while it's fresh in their minds, in actuality applying the scientific method directly to improving their instruction and student learning. Plus, teaching students to apply this method of study to their own learning is increasingly becoming the norm. And becoming well-versed in these teaching and learning methods prepares teachers to use their advanced degree to pursue upper-level careers and administrative roles within schools or districts.
What Is the Scientific Process?
Essentially, the scientific process is a method of studying and learning about the world through inquiry. Learning is discovery, and discovery is rooted in asking questions. The scientific approach to asking questions is based on determining the problem to be solved. The questioner then formulates a hypothesis on how this problem can be solved, or answered, through speculation based on previous research and findings. The scientific method then tests this process through controlled experimentation and study, followed by evaluation of the results of that study. The researcher then forms conclusions based on these results and makes suggestions of further study needed or more questions to be asked.
How Does This Apply to Teacher Education?
Advancing education is based on the question of how to improve learning in schools for students with diverse backgrounds and learning needs. Teachers intent on this educational advancement base their teaching strategies on this question (hypothesis and experiment), evaluating the results through student achievement and experience, drawing conclusions on the efficacy of these strategies, and endeavoring to further improve upon them. Through this approach, the goal is to improve teaching through applying the scientific method to practice in an iterative process.
How Can Students Benefit From Being Taught This Method of Discovery?
It is commonly thought that K-12 education has suffered from having long been based in the rote memorization of facts. This contrasts the deeper learning of understanding why those facts are important, asking questions and finding answers to those questions through independent inquiry and discovery. This model of student inquiry-led learning is more or less founded in teaching the scientific method to students, helping them to apply it to their own education with the teachers acting as guides or resources. Ideally, this teaches students to teach themselves, leading to a more internalized ability and motivation to learn.
Whether you would like to become an instructional coach, curriculum specialist, school administrator or even just a fantastic teacher, studying the scientific approach to education can help improve student learning at your school on many levels. UW-Superior's MSE-Instruction can provide degree candidates a convenient way to learn through the scientific method, applying that learning experientially to their current work and advancing their careers.
Learn more about the UW-Superior online MSE — Instruction program.
Sources:UW-Superior: Lori Danz Stays Home, Sweet Home in Superior to Earn MSE in Instruction
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