The purpose of this qualitative case study research was to ascertain the significance of the professional development programs workshops organized by a science museum and a science center in two Midwestern cities. The research investigated the effect the workshops had on the instructional practice of the participating elementary science teachers. More specifically, this study was guided by the following research question: How do the professional development programs at museums help teachers change the way they teach and consider science in their classroom?
The core of this study consists of case studies of six elementary school teachers who were identified as a result of their participation in the museum and science center workshops and an instructor from the museum and another instructor from the science center. Teachers' self-efficacy regarding the teaching of science was sought through a Likert-style survey and triangulated with classroom observations and interviews of individual teachers.
The findings of this study revealed two overarching themes: one, that the workshops were beneficial and two, that it did not improve instructional practice. The following are the factors identified as reasons for the workshops being beneficial: (1) the opportunity to build their content knowledge, (2) opportunity to experience and discuss the materials: (3) opportunity to collaborate with colleagues: (4) workshop materials and resources are linked to state goals: and (5) that they promote teacher confidence. The teachers who thought the workshops did not improve their instructional practice gave the following reasons: (1) they already had a strong background in science: (2) there was no follow-up activity: (3) the loss of a full day of teaching: and (4) the time constraint to implement what was learned. Though this study utilized a small sample of teachers, those involved in this study felt they acquired knowledge that would be either beneficial to them or to their students and they particularly enjoyed the inquiry-based activities that were conducted in either the museum or the science center workshops.
|Advisor:||Powers, Susan M.|
|Commitee:||Cutter, Lisa, Kiger, Susan J., Ramey, Linda|
|School:||Indiana State University|
|Department:||Curriculum, Instruction, and Media Technology|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 71/06, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Elementary education, Teacher education, Science education, Museum studies|
|Keywords:||Museums, Professional development, Science museums|
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