Published on September 4, 2007
The Role of Informal Science Institutions (ISIs) in K12 Teacher Professional Development: The Role of Informal Science Institutions (ISIs) in K12 Teacher Professional Development Presented by Sharon Unkart Teacher Programs Coordinator Denver Museum of Nature andamp; Science What’s Happening Nationally?: What’s Happening Nationally? Most ISIs offer: Short workshops that focus on specific hands-on activities About 50% offer multiple-day workshops, provide teacher coaching and classroom support, assist with science kits, or help schools with curriculum development About 20% offer intensive multi-week teacher institutes, internships, or pre-service programs National Trends cont.: National Trends cont. Every year, about 150,000 teachers are engaged in teacher education events conducted by ISIs Approximately 20% of all US elementary school teachers who participate each year in science-focused professional development (PD) activities do so at ISIs About 27,500 teachers participate each year in in-depth PD experiences at ISIs Roughly 40% of all elementary school teachers who participate in more than 35 hours of science-focused PD each year do so at ISIs About 1000 teachers each year are serving some form of residency at an ISIs Approximately 10,000 teacher candidates are engaged in a wide range of preservice activities at ISIs Inverness Research Associates for the Association of Science-Technology Centers. An Invisible Infrastructure: Executive Summary. Washington, D.C. 1996. What Does That All Mean?: What Does That All Mean? Informal science institutions are playing a dramatic role nationwide in the science education and pedagogy instruction of pre-service and classroom teachers in this country. How Does DMNS Compare to the National Average?: How Does DMNS Compare to the National Average? Last year, we: Saw 759 preK-12 teachers in our workshops from districts across the state Conducted a 4-day institute for ECE teachers Supported 12 pre-service interns from the University of Colorado at Denver Hosted pre-service groups from UCD, Metro, UCCS, DU, Stanley British Primary, and Friends School Worked with multiple districts to plan and implement district-specific trainings for their teachers Slide6: In 1996, the National Research Council published the National Science Education Standards defining three aspects of standards-based science education: Content Standards Professional Development Standards Assessment Standards Slide7: Four Professional Development Standards: The first three professional development standards can be summarized as: Learning science Learning to teach science Learning to learn Each begins with a description of what is to be learned followed by a description of how the opportunities to learn are best designed. The fourth standard addresses the characteristics of quality professional development programs at all levels. Professional Development Standard A:: Professional Development Standard A: Professional development for teachers of science requires learning essential science content through the perspectives and methods of inquiry. Science learning experiences for teachers must: Involve teachers in actively investigating phenomena that can be studied scientifically, interpreting results, and making sense of findings consistent with currently accepted scientific understanding. Address issues, events, problems, or topics significant in science and of interest to participants. Introduce teachers to scientific literature, media, and technological resources that expand their science knowledge and their ability to access further knowledge. Build on the teacher's current science understanding, ability, and attitudes. Incorporate ongoing reflection on the process and outcomes of understanding science through inquiry. Encourage and support teachers in efforts to collaborate. Professional Development Standard B:: Professional Development Standard B: 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 : Connect and integrate all pertinent aspects of science and science education. 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. Professional Development Standard C:: Professional Development Standard C: Professional development for teachers of science requires building understanding and ability for lifelong learning. Professional development activities must : Provide regular, frequent opportunities for individual and collegial examination and reflection on classroom and institutional practice. Provide opportunities for teachers to receive feedback about their teaching and to understand, analyze, and apply that feedback to improve their practice. Provide opportunities for teachers to learn and use various tools and techniques for self-reflection and collegial reflection, such as peer coaching, portfolios, and journals. Support the sharing of teacher expertise by preparing and using mentors, teacher advisers, coaches, lead teachers, and resource teachers to provide professional development opportunities. Provide opportunities to know and have access to existing research and experiential knowledge. Provide opportunities to learn and use the skills of research to generate new knowledge about science and the teaching and learning of science. Professional Development Standard D:: Professional Development Standard D: Professional development programs for teachers of science must be coherent and integrated. Quality preservice and inservice programs are characterized by : Clear, shared goals based on a vision of science learning, teaching, and teacher development congruent with the National Science Education Standards . Integration and coordination of the program components so that understanding and ability can be built over time, reinforced continuously, and practiced in a variety of situations. Options that recognize the developmental nature of teacher professional growth and individual and group interests, as well as the needs of teachers who have varying degrees of experience, professional expertise, and proficiency. Collaboration among the people involved in programs, including teachers, teacher educators, teacher unions, scientists, administrators, policy makers, members of professional and scientific organizations, parents, and business people, with clear respect for the perspectives and expertise of each. Recognition of the history, culture, and organization of the school environment. Continuous program assessment that captures the perspectives of all those involved, uses a variety of strategies, focuses on the process and effects of the program, and feeds directly into program improvement and evaluation. Implementation of the NSES for PD require:: Implementation of the NSES for PD require: LESS EMPHASIS ON: Transmission of teaching knowledge and skills by lecture Learning science by lecture and reading Separation of science and teaching knowledge Separation of theory and practice Individual learning Fragmented, one-shot sessions MORE EMPHASIS ON: Inquiry into teaching and learning Learning science through investigation and inquiry Integration of science and teaching knowledge Integration of theory and practice in school settings Collegial and collaborative learning Long-term coherent plans Implementation cont.: Implementation cont. LESS cont. Courses and workshops Reliance on external expertise Staff developers as educators Teacher as technician Teacher as consumer of knowledge about teaching Teacher as follower Teacher as an idividual based in classroom Teacher as target of change MORE cont. A variety of professional development activities Mix of internal and external expertise Staff developers as facilitators, consultants, and planners Teacher as intellectrual, reflective practitioner Teacher as producer of knowledge about teaching Teacher as leader Teacher as member of a collegial professional community Teacher as source and facilitator of change What is DMNS Doing to Meet these Goals for PD?: What is DMNS Doing to Meet these Goals for PD? Model inquiry-based teaching and activities that integrate real world objects into the classroom Integrate pedagogy with content Use current theory to inform our own use of best practices in the programs Include collaborative opportunities to debrief information during every program Participate in collegial groups with K12 district, higher education, and informal science professionals Use district personnel, scientists, and other educators to enrich the experience for all participants Provide and promote opportunities during programs for reflection on personal practice Evaluate prior knowledge of participants Look to the participants as experts to share ideas on integration and implementation of content and methodologies Slide15: We don’t just talk about science, we do science! Slide16: Slide17: Teacher Programs at DMNS: Teacher Programs at DMNS One day workshops Multi-day institutes District-specific programs Pre-service internships Online Guides Digital resources Distance learning And more to come!