The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of professional development on the knowledge and classroom practices of teachers of science in kindergarten through Grade 5. These teachers, trained to be generalists in the content areas, were strongly prepared in pedagogical practices, reading skills, basic language arts, and mathematics content areas. Science reform has led to more content-specific science standards that were difficult for these unprepared teachers to address without professional development.
The researcher implemented a professional development program that used a collaborative model involving 8 teachers in Grade 4. The researcher conducted the professional development, assisted at times by personnel from the New Jersey State Department of Education. The new standards were learned, reinforced, and adopted.
The data that were analyzed to determine the effects of the professional development came from a comparison of student achievement of the classes of 2 sets of teachers in Grade 4, one of which was the control set ( n = 8). The other was the experimental set (n = 8). The researcher administered pre- and postintervention content tests to both groups to measure teacher knowledge. In addition, the researcher reviewed lesson plans, conducted observations, and administered surveys to determine whether professional development in science impacted teacher practices in the classroom.
This limited study suggested that teacher instruction did not significantly differ after professional development intervention. It also suggested that teacher content knowledge did not significantly increase due to the intervention. The researcher believes that local factors influenced the outcome and recommends a more systemic program that includes the involvement of all stakeholders.
|School:||Nova Southeastern University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/12, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Elementary education, Teacher education, Science education|
|Keywords:||Classroom practices, Elementary school, Professional development, Science|
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