HR: 1340h
AN: ED23A-1234    [Abstracts]
TI: The Role of University Science Faculty in Promoting Meaningful Educational Change Through Inservice Teacher Professional Development
AU: * Schuster, D A
EM: daschust@iupui.edu
AF: IUPUI School of Education, ES 3120 902 West New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
AB: The role of university faculty in promoting meaningful educational change through inservice teacher professional development has long been theorized, but seldom modeled. Cordial relations and clear mutual goals shared between discipline specialists, such as university scientists and the K - 12 staff development communities, have not existed, and dysfunctional relationships between K-12 schools and the university over the past century have inhibited the solidification of these meaningful professional development partnerships. Our research suggest that inservice teachers tend to learn more about scientific processes in settings where they have the opportunity to interact and engage in an environment where opportunities for learning are promoted by participation and work with professionals in the sciences: University scientists that fostered collaborative flexible environments and treated teachers as professionals appear to have had greater impacts on teachers' learning about the creative, imaginative, social, and cultural aspect of science than the university scientists who treated teachers as technicians. Our work challenges many of the seminal studies and in-depth literature reviews of the last 15 years that assert that an explicit/reflective approach is most effective in promoting adequate conceptions of science among both prospective and practicing teachers. It should be noted, however, that all of these previous studies were conducted in the context of preservice elementary and secondary science methods courses and the process of generalizing these findings to practicing teachers appears to have occurred only in literature reviews and is not clearly substantiated in published research reports. Our study recommends that science teacher professional development should involve initiating inservice teachers into the ideas and practices of the scientific community. Teaching is a learning profession and professional development contexts need to assign teachers a certain amount of responsibility for their own learning. The work of science teaching cannot be accomplished without teacher learning, and teachers of science learn about scientific communities when scientists invite them to engage in the context of scientific practice. Unfortunately, numerous state and federal policies do not support science teachers as they seek to achieve these ends. Many of these policies push schools and universities to design professional development offerings that attempt to generate social capital in order to improve the school as an organization and do not the enrich the individual science teacher. However, these systems of professional development do not acknowledge that scientific knowledge is rapidly changing and K - 12 science teachers and curricula require continual renewal if they are to be accessible and relevant to students' lives. The university is uniquely situated to provide contexts through which inservice teachers can realize the "social and cultural embeddedness of scientific knowledge" (Lederman et. al., 2002).
DE: 0800 EDUCATION
DE: 0805 Elementary and secondary education
DE: 0810 Post-secondary education
DE: 0820 Curriculum and laboratory design
DE: 0830 Teacher training
SC: Education and Human Resources [ED]
MN: Fall Meeting 2005