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Professional development strategies that promote science inquiry teaching and learning

350 210 Stroud Water Research Center

Kerlin, S. 2012. Kentucky Journal of Excellence in College Teaching 10:74–87.

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Abstract

The recently released Framework for K–12 Science Education (National Research Council, 2012) calls for science education to addresses weaknesses in current science education of unorganized learning progressions, a focus on a breadth of discrete facts, and a lack of experiences in how science is actually done. Teacher professional development in inquiry science teaching and learning is one way to address these current issues in science education effectively. Higher education faculty have been one of the major groups of providers of teacher professional development programs. Many of these professional development programs have been delivered in short-term workshops and traditionally focused on increasing teacher content or learning new lesson ideas. As such, these programs have achieved limited successes in creating substantive changes and improvements in K–12 science teaching and learning. The research presented describes features of science teacher professional development that promote the adoption of inquiry-based K–12 science teaching and learning. Education and science faculty collaborated on this project to design and implement a professional development model for practicing science teachers. Sustained professional development enhanced by an immersive field study encouraged experienced teachers to modify their instruction to include scientific inquiry strategies that challenged their students to manipulate and make sense of actual scientific data. Three case studies and end of program feedback are described along with implications for other professional development programs.

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