Teaching Marine Science for Informal Educators

Following last year’s development of a course on communicating ocean sciences for educators and science graduate students at the University of Hawai‘i, CRDG’s Kanesa Duncan Seraphin collaborated again with the Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence (COSEE) to teach the course for informal educators on Maui. COSEE is a National Science Foundation funded program that supports education centers, each of which is made up of a consortium of ocean science research institutions, informal science education organizations, and formal education entities. One of those centers, led by the Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California at Berkeley, created a course on communicating ocean sciences, both as a college course for science and education students and as a community resource for informal educators. The new course, modified to incorporate local knowledge including cultural aspects and traditional knowledge specific to Hawai‘i, was developed in collaboration with the COSEE-CA center, the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, and the University of Hawai‘i’s Maui College. The partners found the informal educators to have very different needs from the education students. “Participants really knew the science content,” Seraphin said. “They needed more instruction in learning theory, teaching theory, and the process of teaching using inquiry methods.” Topics such as critical thinking, current issues in science, and what is and is not science were also included.