Learning Along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers

Need Teacher Buy-In? Start with Professional Development
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Prospective and practicing teachers must take science courses in which they learn science through inquiry, having the same opportunities as their students will have to develop understanding. That knowledge prepares teachers to guide student inquiries, appraise current student understanding, and further students' understanding of scientific ideas. Although thorough science knowledge in many areas would enhance the work of an elementary teacher, it is more realistic to expect a generalist's knowledge.

Science curricula are organized in many different ways in the middle grades. Science experiences go into greater depth, are more quantitative, require more sophisticated reasoning skills, and use more sophisticated apparatus and technology. These requirements of the science courses change the character of the conceptual background required of middle level teachers of science. While maintaining a breadth of science knowledge, they need to develop greater depth of understanding than their colleagues teaching grades K An intensive, thorough study of at least one scientific discipline will help them meet the demands of their teaching and gain appreciation for how scientific knowledge is produced and how disciplines are structured.

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With this in mind, a few teachers volunteered to share how they use writer's notebooks with their students. Posnanski, T. Reiser, B. Reflective practice and how this can be used to review and develop teaching and learning. And this isolation also prevents the development of the collective capacity of the science teachers in a school and district. Contemporary approaches to teacher professional development. A mixed methods methodology enabled an investigation of professional learning and development opportunities available to high-school Physics teachers in New Zealand and an evaluation of how well these activities were perceived by teachers to serve their needs.

At the secondary level, effective teachers of science possess broad knowledge of all disciplines and a deep understanding of the scientific disciplines they teach. This implies being familiar enough with a science discipline to take part in research activities within that discipline. Teachers must possess the skills necessary to guide inquiries based on students' questions. An important test of the appropriate level of understanding for all teachers of science at all levels is the teacher's ability to determine what students understand about science and to use this data to formulate activities that aid the development of sound scientific ideas by their students.

Prospective and practicing teachers of science acquire much of their formal science knowledge through coursework in colleges and universities. For all teachers, undergraduate science courses are a major factor in defining what science content is learned. Those courses also provide models for how science should be taught. For K-4 teachers. Because of the crucial role of such courses, reform in the content and teaching of undergraduate science is imperative. The courses for practicing teachers—those taught at universities as part of graduate programs as well as those typically included in school-based, inservice programs—also require redesign.

Teachers of science will be the representatives of the science community in their classrooms, and they form much of their image of science through the science courses that they take in college.

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If that image is to reflect the nature of science as presented in these standards, prospective and practicing teachers must take science courses in which they learn science through inquiry, having the same opportunities as their students will have to develop understanding. College science faculty therefore must design courses that are heavily based on investigations, where current and future teachers have direct contact with phenomena, gather and interpret data using appropriate technology, and are involved in groups working on real, open-ended problems.

Those science courses must allow teachers to develop a deep understanding of accepted scientific ideas and the manner in which they were formulated.

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They must also address problems, issues, events, and topics that are important to science, the community, and teachers. Learning science through inquiry should also provide opportunities for teachers to use scientific literature, media, and technology to broaden their knowledge beyond the scope of immediate inquiries.

Courses in science should allow teachers to develop understanding of the logical reasoning that is demonstrated in research papers and how a specific piece of research adds to the accumulated knowledge of science. Those courses should also support teachers in using a variety of technological tools, such as computerized databases and specialized laboratory tools.

In the vision described by the Standards , all prospective and practicing teachers who.

Learning Along The Way Professional Development By And For Teachers

Teachers of science will be the representatives of the science community in their classrooms. Courses and other activities include ongoing opportunities for teachers to reflect on the process and the outcomes of their learning. Instructors help teachers understand the nature of learning science as they develop new concepts and skills. Those who teach science must be attentive to the scientific ideas that teachers bring with them, provide time for learning experiences to be shared, and be knowledgeable about strategies that promote and encourage reflection.

Science faculty also need to design courses for prospective and practicing teachers that purposely engage them in the collaborative aspects of scientific inquiry. Some aspects of inquiry are individual efforts, but many are not, and teachers need to experience the value and benefits of cooperative work as well as the struggles and tensions that it can produce. Professional development for teachers of science requires integrating knowledge of science, learning, pedagogy, and students; it also requires applying that knowledge to science teaching.

Learning experiences for teachers of science must. Occur in a variety of places where effective science teaching can be illustrated and modeled, permitting teachers to struggle with real situations and expand their knowledge and skills in appropriate contexts. Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning.

Use inquiry, reflection, interpretation of research, modeling, and guided practice to build understanding and skill in science teaching. Effective science teaching is more than knowing science content and some teaching strategies. Skilled teachers of science have special understandings and abilities that integrate their knowledge of science content, curriculum, learning, teaching, and students.

Such knowledge allows teachers to tailor learning situations to the needs of individuals and groups. This special knowledge, called "pedagogical content knowledge," distinguishes the science knowledge of teachers from that of scientists. It is one element that defines a professional teacher of science.

In addition to solid knowledge of science, teachers of science must have a firm grounding in learning theory—understanding how learning occurs and is facilitated. Learning is an active process by which students individually and collaboratively achieve understanding. Effective teaching requires that teachers know what students of certain ages are likely to know, understand, and be able to do; what they will learn quickly; and what will be a struggle. Teachers of science need to anticipate typical misunderstandings and to. In addition, teachers of science must develop understanding of how students with different backgrounds, experiences, motivations, learning styles, abilities, and interests learn science.

15 Professional Development Skills for Modern Teachers

Teachers use all of that knowledge to make effective decisions about learning objectives, teaching strategies, assessment tasks, and curriculum materials. Effective teachers of science also have a broad repertoire of instructional strategies that engage students in multiple ways. They are familiar with a wide range of curricula. They have the ability to examine critically and select activities to use with their students to promote the understanding of science.

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Inquiry into practice is essential for effective teaching. Teachers need continuous opportunities to do so. Through collaborations with colleagues, teachers should. Teachers use their knowledge to make effective decisions about learning objectives, teaching strategies, assessment tasks, and curriculum materials.

Is this experiment appropriate for the understanding and ability of the students? What type of research do students need to do to extend their understanding? Is this curriculum unit appropriate for this group of third-grade students?

Does a particular study allow students sufficient opportunity to devise their own experiments? Assessment is an important tool for good inquiry into teaching.

Teacher Professional Development

In the daily operation of their classrooms, skilled teachers of science are diagnosticians who understand students' ideas, beliefs, and reasoning. Effective teachers are knowledgeable about the various educational purposes for assessment and know how to implement and interpret a variety of assessment strategies. Skilled teachers of science also know how to create and manage the physical, social, and intellectual environment in a classroom community of science learners.

Developing pedagogical content knowledge of science requires that teachers of science have the opportunity to bring together the knowledge described above and develop an integrated view of what it means to teach and learn science. The teaching standards in Chapter 3 are designed to guide teachers' decisions about each of the complex activities involved in teaching science.

In the vision described by the Standards, teachers also develop concepts and language to engage in discourse with their peers about content, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, and students. The development of pedagogical content knowledge by teachers mirrors what we know about learning by students; it can be fully developed only through continuous experience.

But experience is not sufficient.

Learning Along the Way: Professional Development by and for Teachers

Teachers also must have opportunities to engage in analysis of the individual components of pedagogical content knowledge—science, learning, and pedagogy—and make connections between them. In this vision, people responsible for professional development work together with each other and with teachers as they integrate their knowledge and experiences.

For example, higher education science and education faculty must learn to work together: An instructor in a university science course might invite a member of the science education faculty to participate in regular discussion time designed to help students reflect on how they came to learn science concepts. Not only must the departments in higher education institutions work together, but schools and higher education institutions must enter into true collaboration. She also reads research regularly, reviews resources, and makes judgments about their value for her teaching.

The students in her high-school class have opportunities to develop mental models, work with instructional technology, use multiple materials, teach one another, and consider the personal, social, and ethical aspects of science. She has the support of the school and district and has the resources she needs. She also relies on resources in the community. She taught the course before and read extensively about the difficulties students have with transmission genetics conceptually and as a means of developing problem-solving skills.

She also has been learning about new approaches to teaching genetics. From her reading and from a workshop she attended for high-school teachers at the local university, she knows that many people have been experimenting with ways to improve genetics instruction. She also knows that several computer programs are available that simulate genetics events. She wants to provide the students with opportunities to understand the basic principles of transmission genetics.

She also wants them to appreciate how using a mental model is useful to understanding. She wants her students to engage in and learn the processes of inquiry as they develop their mental models. Selecting an appropriate computer program is important, because simulation will be key to much of the first quarter of the course.