An update from Mr. Barclays class

for parents, guardians, familiy members, and anyone else!

Hello Parents and Guardians!

I wanted to send out a quick newsletter to all of you to make sure that we are all on the same page for the upcoming semester. I'm so glad to have your son or daughter in my class this year, and I look forward to opportunities we will have to learn together.

I first want to say a few things about the role of "inquiry" in my classroom. Inquiry is a style of teaching in which I try to help your student(s) use their own critical thinking to figure out problems. Rather than having them memorize facts, I'm going to focus on finding ways to help them critically think about problems. From there I think they will learn much both about science as well as problem-solving. It may seem odd that your student is not learning lists of facts, but I promise that they will still perform just as well on quizzes and tests (if not better). There is plenty of research, such as Theodore Lewis (2006) studies, to suggest that teaching by "Inquiry" is very effective. I would love to hear your thoughts or ideas on this matter. I'm sure that you have thoughts that will improve my teaching.

A second point I want to make is that I want to provide an ongoing invitation for you to come visit our class. I believe that parents in the classroom greatly helps with the learning. I can always use the extra help in the class, and students love to hear how science effects the lives of their friend's parents. Please do send me your suggestions, or email me to let me know if you'd ever like to come in. I can send you our schedule to see if a particular unit seems interesting to you. You can find my contact information at the bottom of this page.

Article on Inquiry:

Lewis, T. (2006). Design and inquiry: Bases for an accommodation between science and technology education in the curriculum?. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 43(3), 255-281.

Getting to know Mr. Barclay

I got my degree in Chemistry from William & Mary, where I also completed my master's degree in science education. I love science and I'm so glad to have the chance to teach it. When I'm not grading papers, I like to play music with my band, sing, read, or write.