Penn State

Carla Zembal-Saul - Associate Professor of Science Education, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The "Having of Wonderful Ideas" and Other Essays on Teaching and Learning

Author: Eleanor Duckworth

Book Description:

The Having of Wonderful Ideas by Eleanor Duckworth represents a powerful collection of concepts about teaching and learning that has shaped my thinking about science education. Duckworth was not the first, nor will she be the last, to share these ideas; however, she does so in a way that resonates with educators and speaks to the human spirit.

I have re-discovered this book at several critical junctures in my career. First, as a beginning science teacher in Houston, TX, I was drawn to Duckworth's progressive ideas about children's thinking. Engaging learners with phenomena and supporting them in constructing explanations from evidence is an approach that has transformed my teaching and remains the focal point of my scholarship. I encountered The Having of Wonderful Ideas again as a graduate student at The University of Michigan. This time, my interest came from Duckworth's interactions with prospective teachers, having them participate as learners of science as part of the process of learning to teach science. Most recently, as a teacher educator working in the PSU-SCASD Elementary Professional Development School Program, Duckworth's book has again informed my thinking about teacher development and the role of teacher research.

Each time I have encountered The Having of Wonderful Ideas, I brought a new lens to my reading of it, and each time it has been meaningful to me in different and exciting ways.

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