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Professional Development of Teachers in Science Tina Jarvis & Petra Skiebe-Corrette.

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Presentation on theme: "Professional Development of Teachers in Science Tina Jarvis & Petra Skiebe-Corrette."— Presentation transcript:

1 Professional Development of Teachers in Science Tina Jarvis & Petra Skiebe-Corrette

2 Research into teacher development based on the Leicester experience

3 Teacher Types We used data from 112 teachers in 3 Projects: AstraZeneca, an intensive 2 year programme for 11 teachers in one school, & Pollen. Data covered their confidence, self-reported competence & attitudes to science. Cluster analysis enabled three main types of response to in-service to be identified: Science unsures Holistic improvers High level, positive progressives

4 Science Unsures (7 teachers) Low attitude scores throughout Little confidence throughout No response to the innovation One German who had never taught science before, 4 Belgium non- graduates, 2 AstraZenca with low science expertise In a few cases this in-service did not have any impact probably because in- service did not last long enough to overcome weaknesses in both science teaching science knowledge.

5 Holistic improvers (41 teachers) Initial attitude scores were above the mid-points of the scales but below the whole group average. Their attitudes showed no significant change. They showed a significant increase in teaching confidence. The Holistic improvers all came from non-Pollen schools that were identified as having poor science results. Therefore it might be expected that these teachers would have lower attitudes compared to the majority of Pollen teachers who usually volunteered to take part in the innovative European project. This group of Holistic improvers appears to represent an early developmental stage in how teachers respond to in-service.

6 High level, positive progressives (64 teachers) Were very positive to science teaching throughout Showed gains in confidence in teaching physics and chemistry Able to demonstrating the relevance of science to their pupils 58 teachers were from the 9 countries from the Pollen project, 4 from AstraZeneca and 2 from Oak Hill Primary.

7 High level, positive progressives : 3 sub-groups 1.Confidence in science knowledge who improved / consolidated pedagogical skills in observational, experimental science. 2.Showed attributes of good pedagogical practice but lacked high subject expertise. 3.Had expertise in mathematics and information technology initially and gained confidence teaching physics and chemistry. They were already were strong believers in group-work and encouraging pupils to predict and speculate. They appeared to have had sufficient science knowledge and investigative skills to branch out to be more creative. To make the most of in-service programme requiring considerable application in the classroom, teachers need initial self-confidence in either science knowledge or science pedagogy. When they have both they can be creative.

8 Joyce & Showers (1980) Developmental Stages of impact during in-service The first three primarily focus on the teachers’ personal skills and conceptual knowledge and the fourth focuses on classroom practice. Their stages are: 1.Awareness – where the learner realises the importance of an area and begins to focus on it. For example, the teacher recognises the value of a structure for supporting pupils’ investigative skills. 2.Concepts and organised knowledge which involves both content knowledge and an appreciation of how learners develop cognitive knowledge. 3.Principles and skills that provide the tools for action such as the pedagogy to help pupils collect data, organise it, build concepts and test them. 4.Application and problem-solving where the teacher is able to transfer their new expertise to the classroom where the new teaching strategy is integrated into the teachers’ repertoire and style.

9 Progressive stages of application in the classroom 1.Lacks the motivation to apply the knowledge and expertise to the classroom. 2.Self-confidence increases so that the teachers improve their attitude to science but appear to make limited effective change in their class. 3.Teachers replicate activities shown in in-service sessions. 4.Activities are repeated and adjusted to cater for individual children’s needs and/or situation in the class. 5.The principles shown in the in-service are applied in a new topic / age group. 6.There is an increased sharing of work within the school with other colleagues. 7.Changes are seen in whole-school planning. Year groups and classes make partial changes to include the new approach. 8.Whole-school change of approach.

10 Teachers’ affect & cognition Confidence Self-perception of competence Attitudes to science teaching Attitudes to in-service Cognition Change during in-service School support Confidence & self-perception of competence Attitudes to science teaching & to in-service Cognition School responsibility School curriculum Teachers’ personal factors Gender Qualifications Experience in teaching School responsibility Class year group Pupils’ attitudes & cognition

11 Implications In-service takes time. Need to differentiate to ensure teachers develop subject knowledge and pedagogy. Teachers often do not realise their knowledge is poor. They have everyday science ‘misconceptions’. Pupil enthusiasm is a major motivator for teachers. Teachers need to be given practical activities that will work with their pupils at the correct level (pupils will not respond to tasks that are too easy or too hard). This means showing how teachers of different age groups might adapt tasks. Persuading teachers to try the first practical activities in class is essential to trigger pupils’ enthusiasm.

12 Discussion Do you see this development in your teachers? If so what stage are your teachers at? If you can recognise where they are in their development. What can you do to move them on to the next stage?

13 Implications In-service takes time. Need to differentiate to ensure teachers develop subject knowledge and pedagogy. Teachers often do not realise their knowledge is poor. They have everyday science ‘misconceptions’. Pupil enthusiasm is a major motivator for teachers. Teachers need to be given practical activities that will work with their pupils at the correct level (pupils will not respond to tasks that are too easy or too hard). This means showing how teachers of different age groups might adapt tasks. Persuading teachers to try the first practical activities in class is essential to trigger pupils’ enthusiasm.

14 Inquiry science teaching needs Professional development Material + Curriculum (based on competences) + Teacher learns to teach inquiry use & adapt develops

15 Professional development using high quality material 1.Gives teachers practical activities that will work with their pupils. 2.Reduces the barrier for practical activities because the effort is less. 3.Learning by doing makes them feel the enthusiasm the children will experience. 4.Therefore it is important that every teacher is trained and not just one teacher in a given school, that is expected to pass on the information. Material needs to be care free

16 The model of providing material in Berlin Unpacking Delivering school Pick up Packing teacher & student guides & materials Documentation Statistics prepackagingShopping

17 Advantages of lending material to teachers Disadvantage of lending material to teachers Discuss in groups

18 Advantages of lending material to teachers 1.Teachers can concentrate on teaching - Teachers do not have to shop or collect material - Teachers do not have to refurbish material - Teachers have enough material for an entire class 2.If teachers use the same material they can exchange experiences - If they have problems with the material they can talk - They can exchange exams - Substitutions for teachers are easier 3.Teachers of higher grades know what has been previously taught 4.Cost effective in the long term - Material can be used by different schools in a year - Material bought in large quantities is cheaper - No storage problems for schools 5.High quality material - Developed by an experienced team over a long time - Field tested in a large number of schools

19 Disadvantage of lending material to teachers 1.Not all material is always available in the classroom. 2.Some people say it reduces the creativity of the teachers. 3.Some people say material does not encourage teachers to follow the ideas of children.

20 Inquiry is in the teacher not in a box but supplying quality material helps in the daily work of teachers More teachers are attracted & sustainability is easier

21 Developing individual science skills Example: Observation

22 What does it look like? What is it made of? How might I use it? Why would it do this job well? Why is this a good material to use? Why are the other spoons different? Choose an object Tell someone about it.

23 Other sets to observe and sort Musical instruments HeadgearGloves Torches Toys Shoes

24 Generating & answering questions 1.Brainstorm questions eg spoons Who do they belong to? What are they for? 2.Provide the question beginning ‘How’, ‘Why’, ‘What will happen if?’ 3.How can we find out? – ask someone, look in a book or do a test. Children hold up card.

25 Predicting, investigating and explaining with help: How will the height of the slope effect how far a toy car will go? Predict what will happen. Say why. Start with ‘Because…..’ How can you make sure your test is ‘fair?’ Predict before doing each test. Can you use what has already happened to help you? (Look for pattern.) Mark out each distance with straws to make a ‘graph’ on the floor. Try to explain your results.


27 Structure for a whole investigation

28 Writing Frames: Pupils aged 7-9 Present / future tense What we want to find out What we need How we will do it What we think will happen Past tense What happened What we found out How we made our test fair

29 Writing Frames: Aged 7-11 Planning What we want to find out What we think might happen Scientific evidence for my prediction What factors we change What factors we control How we make it a fair test What we need What measurements we intend to take How we will keep it safe Obtaining evidence (results) We will use this graph to record our results And this type of graph to help us see patterns Considering evidence (analysing results) My results showed that These results did not seem to fit the pattern because My results are supported by the following evidence There are too many stages for the teacher to ensure the pupils carry out the task independently and effectively. We suggest that teacher and pupils focus on a different aspect in different experiments.

30 Uses and Abuses of Writing Frames Useful for scaffolding a new written genre Useful for children with special needs and reluctant writers Not all children need a tight structure Frames should be changeable and flexible More than one genre can be used to communicate about science The aim is that pupils decide on how to write up their work Pupils can have some choice. They need to consider:- Who is the audience? What do they need to know? How will we present our information? What might be used in a report: writing, tables, graphs, digital photos, bullet points…?

31 ‘Post-it’ structure for investigations that focus on variables and presentation of data


33 Brainstorm: What things might effect how fast someone or something will travel on the slide?



36 You need to choose One independent variable You need to choose One dependent variable Control variables The other things need to be kept the same to make sure the test is fair.





41 Another investigation

42 Explaining friction 1.A small force may not be enough to slide a box along the ground because another force appears to hold it in place. This gripping force acts in the opposite direction to the one that is pushing. 2.Frictional force is usually greater if the surface is rough. However two surfaces which are smooth and ‘sticky’ like rubber have great contact and so may grip well. 3. As well as helping things stay put, frictional forces also make things slow down and stop. The greater the frictional force the quicker a moving object will stop and short distance. Developing teachers’ science knowledge is important.

43 Pre-investigation activities to promote independence It is important that skill development continues alongside experiments. Ideally the teacher plans to do an investigation at the end of a few weeks and also plans a series of activities that use skills and knowledge required in the investigation. Activities might include reminding and introducing concepts that will be needed introducing and practising with equipment that will be used in the investigation practising skills such as reading graphs These help children to focus on the investigation children to have more independence during the investigation

44 Practice using equipment: Using a stopwatch 1. Practise all starting and stopping together. 2. Use the stopwatch in PE in a variety of ways.

45 Pre-investigation task: Creating a table Time taken Bouncing ball 4 times Running to wall and back 4 hops Tim Fred Angela Can we record these as line or block graphs?

46 Support in school to encourage teachers to try new activities that we hope will enthuse pupils. Motivated pupils will encourage further innovation in teachers.

47 Encouraging peer support At least two teachers are required to attend courses. Research indicates that if more than one teacher in a school participates they are more likely to try activities in the classroom. If a teacher cannot attend for one session, we ask that another takes his/her place so the school has continuity. Teachers are encouraged to work together. Teachers are asked to trial at least one activity from the two main in- service sessions A mentor visits each teacher twice each year to participate and support the teacher – not to assess The visiting mentors write short reports of each visit, illustrated with photographs. These provide a resource to enable ideas to be shared in subsequent in-service sessions as well as in published material.

48 Supporting changing practice in school: Head Teachers & others in the school Support from the Head Teacher is essential Mentor meets them, if possible. However some feel they have delegated the project to their teachers so do not need to concern themselves. Heads are under a lot of pressure eg one Head is looking after 2 schools. There are tests in English and maths – not science. It is difficult to change school timetables to find time to complete science investigations (easier for Early Years schools) Provide publications for their practice for use with governors, parents and inspectors. Head Teachers are invited to activities Teachers are encouraged to give feedback to their colleagues in school meetings. Some other teachers resent change. It’s a little easier to cope with if there is more than one teacher in the school on the Project.

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