Since my freshman year I knew I wanted to compose an Honors thesis. As an education major in math and science I knew I wanted to focus on math or science education, but I couldn’t figure out what project would be an addition to the education world. I didn’t want a replication of a previous work, I wanted to creative something new.
For a long time I was invested in making one in the form of a storybook or graphic novel because of my weakness in writing and grammar skills. This was until I was informed of a science curriculum project for Cambodia that a team was working on with two fellow professors, an international studies graduate student, and two Cambodians. Since Fall 2010 our curriculum has been meeting as a group and have divided into 4 science subject areas creating curriculum for a first year science course that will be taught at s University in Cambodia.
At first, I was apprehensive because I am more interested in math and did not know anything about Cambodia. It wasn’t until I fully understood the project and fully understood Cambodia. I mean, wow. The funny thing about this is sometimes I felt like I should have become an international studies major instead because of how interested I am in others culture and how many international friends I have, even though I love education. This project captures my desires— education and international studies. This project’s goal is to improve and create an alternative science curriculum to be used for higher education in developing countries. Specifically, I will be focusing on Cambodia’s higher education freshman science curriculum.
I am currently taking Senior Seminar that focuses on preparing for the actual composition of the thesis. This class has been extremely helpful in challenging and directing me in where to go with my thesis.
I am also taking my 3rd block this semester at a Middle School teaching 6th grade science. Last semester, I was in a 5th grade science class as well. Both years I choose to be placed in the subject area of science because I only have experience in teaching math in the classroom (with Texas Mathworks and Honors class Teaching Math to Children) and because less than 4 students in my class of 30 education interns class did not want to be in a science class. I love mathematics— working with numbers, solving problems, teaching the reasoning as to why things work, so not being in a science class was disappointing at first. In almost a year now of intern experience I have realized that there are education majors/teachers who 1) don’t want to teach science and 2) do not have the knowledge as how to effectively teach science. Anyone can teach science, but often it feels like the textbook is on audio. I have gained insight that science is the route that needs the most improvement because of HOW MUCH science is incorporated into our everyday lives and how this understanding improves society.
As an education major, I believe I have a good background in teaching methods and reasoning for this thesis, but my struggle is capturing Cambodia’s background and current education system. I am not a historian, so researching the Khmer Rouge and relating how this hindered and still hinders Cambodia’s education system is hard for me. How do I capture Cambodia’s devastating past into my thesis? How much should I stress? I want to include more than a paragraph and I need to stress the importance of how much education is still being rebuilt from this era.
I have been given a wonderful opportunity to work on a science curriculum team for a Cambodian freshman science course and I would like to do justice in the actual material and its reasoning for this in my thesis. I have started some research in teachings methods and Cambodia’s history and education, but I have A LONG way to go within the next year.