Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Master Naturalist Class Day 4 Part 2

For pictures, click HERE.

(This is part 2 of last week’s class. Check out yesterday’s post for Part 1. Tomorrow we will have a message from Boris the Bat.)

037After lunch, Dr. Rob Bixler (PRT professor at Clemson University) met with us. He helped us learn how to be an effective interpreter.

Interpretation – make things clear.

We have a recreation and leisure activity which is more of an experience rather than a program.

We need to create wonder about every day nature.

Get kids out being observant.

Early times, nature was very important and part of the curriculum. It was the dominant aspect into the curriculum until the 1930s.

Then cultural decay began because it wasn’t being reinforced any more.

Rachel Carson – mother of the modern environmental movement.

Environmental issues and studies became more important than nature study.

Decline in membership of conservation organizations.

Fewer students interested in natural resource careers

Public programs – self selected; people choose to come to these.

Don’t think too scientifically. Figure out ways to connect science to history or culture or pop culture or humanities.

Bring in special people.

Look for humor.

Use poems or music lyrics.

Sensory analysis is important (hearing, smell, touch, see – don’t use taste with young children)

Demonstrations are memorable


Look at other cultures.

Go to a local history society for more information.

Look for old, old books

Go to internet forums

Find famous people connected to your topic.

Interpretation does not mean interpret-torture!

People’s time is precious. They are taking a risk to come to a public program.

Vogel State Park has an “Ask a Naturalist” program

Encourage audience participation. They can identify with the information and feel good about adding to it.

Be early, clean and neat, start on time. Start off with general information, getting to know others for the first 5 minutes in case anyone is late.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

· Make sure they are comfortable. Make sure they know what to expect.

· Check safety and security. Make sure they are appropriately dressed for the activity.

· Develop a rapport.

· Recognize someone’s contribution.

Have a Theme statement.

The program does not need to be long and can be informal.

Mechanics of leading a hike

1. Walk past key thing and stop group, then walk back to it so you and key thing is in the middle.

2. End with conclusion; restate theme and subthemes.

3. Don’t end in view of the parking lot.

4. Make yourself available for informal interactions after program ends.

Questioning: Use open ended questions; only ask recall questions about information that you spoke about

Planning is essential! We were given a worksheet and we wrote down a topic and theme. Then we looked at different ways to promote the theme. These include alliteration, exclamation, metaphor/simile, limerick, rhyme, word picture. Don’t do more than one or it will be annoying.

Work with other people. Share ideas.

Look at YouTube videos: search for Piaget + conservation

Young children do not understand cause and effect; multiple relationships. They are very sensory oriented. They need to see, touch, hear and smell. They have trouble with zero.

If you can’t directly experience it, do not talk about it.

Young children do not understand how to ask questions; keep it concrete, simple, and sensory rich.

Group size – 1st through 3rd grade is usually best to have no more than 6 with a parent.

You need a finale! You want to get people back. You want them to be talking about this at home. Every program needs to end with a “what next.”

Sharing nature with other people is important to do!

Many of these techniques are ones that should be used in the classroom also. Planning is important because you need to make it worthwhile for people to invest their time in an activity that you do. It is important to engage the audience. If the audience is engaged, there will be less opportunity for misbehavior. Of course we want to tempt them so they want to learn more. I have attended many ranger led activities where I was wishing this person would have a “part 2” of their talk because they were so interesting. Whether you are in a classroom or leading an interpretive experience, the same should apply.

For our next class we will be at Jones Gap State Park and do some water activities. I’m really looking forward to this!

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

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