In-service teachers’ professional development on science education: Designing principles of a research project
Petros Kariotoglou, Dimitrios Pnevmatikos, Maria Karnezou
Bearing in mind the scores Greek students achieved in PISA, we assume that a major factor for this deficit might be science teachers’ dependence on the school textbook or the respective teachers’ guide, instead of designing teaching based on their students’ needs and characteristics. Another cause might be that, unlike the instructional tradition in other countries, Greek teachers focus their instruction mainly on teaching concepts and phenomena rather than on the methodology that scientific thought follows (i.e. procedural and epistemological knowledge). To change this tradition, a focused in-service training project is necessary to help teachers change their entrenched instructional practices and adopt the new ones that integrate the practices other countries with better scores in PISA currently use. The Science Teachers’ Education (STED) program aims to study the conditions and the prerequisites of teachers’ professional development on designing science teaching and expand their way of thinking and acting within an innovative class setting. Some key designing principles that should guide this endeavor are presented in this paper. For a successful in-service professional development program a recording of teachers’ views, needs and practices is needed. It is expected that this constructive professional development would increase teachers’ efficiency to design Teaching Learning Sequences (TLS) adapting them to the needs of their class, providing their students with the necessary skills to build scientific knowledge based on the learning goals set in the science curriculum.
Keywords: Professional Development, Teaching Learning Sequences (TLS), Science Teachers
Teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding science teaching and learning in early childhood education
Sofia Avgitidou, Penelope Papadopoulou, Vasiliki Alexiou
There is widespread acceptance of the idea that critical thinking should be an important dimension of science education since one of its goals is the promotion of science as inquiry. This research presents an initial exploration of early childhood education (ECE) teachers’ beliefs and described practices regarding the teaching of science. Data were collected from 14 ECE teachers from the perfecture of Florina through semi-structured interviews. The interview was designed based on the theoretical framework of Schulman (1986, 1987) regarding pedagogical content knowledge and related research about pedagogical content knowledge in the teaching of Science. Basic themes of the interview were the aims and goals of teaching Science in ECE, teachers’ and children’s actions during teaching, organisation of experiments and evaluation methods and criteria for children’s learning in science education. Data were analysed through the constant comparative method (Glaser &Strauss, 1967) to show similarities and differences both across cases (14 ECE teachers) and within each case (consistency of beliefs across different themes). Results showed that while all ECE teachers referred to children’s acquisition of procedural knowledge and scientific skills as one of their main goal, the description of their and children’s actions as well as reported evaluation methods and criteria for assessing children’s learning were not always consistent with their goals and aims. Thus ECE teachers’ beliefs about the aims and goals of science teaching were not necessarily in accordance to their pedagogical content knowledge. In addition, the 14 ECE teachers of our study gave emphasis in their teaching to enhancement of exploring, planning and communication skills rather than recording and interpreting skills, showing that they did not support the whole range of scientific skills in the same way in their teaching. These results are discussed in relation to their in-service education of ECE teachers to foster an active and exploratory role for children during their learning in Science teaching.
Keywords: science teaching, early childhood education, teachers’ beliefs and practices
In-service secondary teachers’ ideas and practices about teaching and learning in science education
Georgios Malandrakis, Aikaterini Gkigkopoulou, Anastasios Zoupidis
This study aims to explore in-service teachers’ ideas about teaching organization and the respective teachers and students’ activities affecting teaching and learning in secondary science education. Data were collected from ten in-service secondary teachers (6 female, 4 male) through the use of semi-structured interviews each one lasting about 50 minutes. All interviews were audio-taped and transcribed verbatim and bottom up categories were developed. Analysis revealed that teaching is mostly based on the conduction of experiments (9) and the use of book (5), while less than half of teachers prepare a lesson plan (4). Only a few teachers start with an example from the everyday life (3), set goals (2), introduce mathematics formulas (2), organize the necessary ICTs (2) and summarize at the end of the lesson (3). On the other hand, many of them consider experiments (5) and software accompanied with working sheets (3) as the most effective practices. In particular, they believe that the role of experiment is important and assisting (5), creating queries and giving satisfaction to students (4). During science classes, students are interested about sciences (9), discussion and argumentation (9), doing experiments (4), learn to investigate (4), and working in groups (3). However, there is a significant number of teachers (3) reporting that their students are boring during the lessons. Teachers use various ways to support their students when they face difficulties with concepts (10), provide them opportunities for argumentation and expression (9), while they use various ways to increase their interest (7). In addition, teachers consider that their students learn to inquire through the way of their teaching (4). In summary, further teachers’ support is needed in order to incorporate in their teaching the scientific practices and reinforce in such a way learning in science education.
Keywords: secondary teachers, science education, teaching organization, in-service teachers’ views
In-service primary teachers’ views and practices for promoting innovative teaching-learning environments about Science
Catherine Dimitriadou, Anna Spyrtou
In the last two decades numerous papers and books focused on innovative inquiry teaching-learning environments that could support students to develop critical reasoning abilities, including the ability to pose questions and investigate them, to select, record and interpret data and information from multiple sources, to be able to analyse and link their data and information, to reach conclusions seeking out evidence, as well as to understand the purpose and methods of science. This paper focuses on teachers’ views related to parameters which facilitate the innovation of Science teaching in primary school, so that students can invent some “higher rationale” to explain the world. The research follows the qualitative paradigm, aiming at deepening in the teachers’ views. A semi-structured interview was applied to 10 primary school teachers (5 men and 5 women), having experience from the fifth and the sixth grades in the area of Florina. The 26 questions of the research tool referred to subjects pertaining to the aims and content of Science teaching, the procedures that the teachers use, the evaluation of teaching approaches they apply, and the context of their instruction. The collected data reach conclusions concerning the Science textbooks, the connection of the instruction with the geographical and social context of Western Macedonia, the need for cooperation among teachers, the enrichment of teaching practices through the ICT, as well the use of visual literacy and interdisciplinary approaches. According to the teachers’ views, students should be more intensively engaged in learning approaches through experiments, get used to the development of argumentation which includes scientific terms, get more used to ICT, and link their experiences and interests with Science concepts and laws. The conclusions will be correlated to a three-dimensional model focusing on the pedagogical content knowledge that Science teachers should have. This correlation is expected to introduce innovations in Science teaching and improve the students’ critical thinking about Science.
Keywords: Science teaching in primary education, pedagogical content knowledge in Science, teachers’ views, reflection