Analysis of an inquiry-oriented inservice program in affecting science teaching practices
Santamaria Makang, Doris
MetadataShow full item record
This study was an examination of how science teachers' teaching abilities- content and pedagogical knowledge and skills- were affected by an inquiry-oriented science education professional development program. The study researched the characteristics of an inservice program, Microcosmos, designed to equip teachers with new perspectives on how to stimulate students' learning and to promote a self-reflective approach for the implementation of instructional practices leading to improving teachers' and students' roles in the science classroom. The Microcosmos Inservice Program, which focused on the use of microorganisms as a vehicle to teach science for middle and high school grades, was funded by the National Science Foundation and developed by the Microcosmos Project based at the School of Education, Boston University. The teacher-training program had as its main objective to show teachers and other educators how the smallest life forms-the microbes--can be a usable and dynamic way to stimulate science interest in students of all ages. It combines and integrates a number of training components that appear to be consistent with the recommendations listed in the major reform initiatives. The goal of the study was to explore weather the program provoked any change(s) in the pedagogical practices of teachers over time, and if these changes fostered inquiry-based practices in the classroom. The exploratory analysis used a qualitative methodology that followed a longitudinal design for the collection of the data gathered from a sample of 31 participants. The data was collected in two phases. Phase One - The Case History group, involved 5 science teachers over a period of seven years. Phase Two - The Expanded Teacher sample, involved 26 teachers-22 new teachers plus four teachers from Phase One-contacted at two different points on time during the study. Multiple data sources allowed for the collection of a varied and rigorous set of data for each individual in the sample. The primary data source was semi-structured interviews. Secondary data sources included pre- and post- on-site visits, classroom observations, teacher's self-report protocols and questionnaires, and documents and examples of teacher-work developed during the inservice training. The data was examined for evidence of change on: teachers' self-reported content-specific gains, teachers 'self-reported and observed changes in their teaching methods and approach to curriculum, and the teachers ' self-reported and observed changes in classroom practices as a result of the content and the pedagogy acting together and supplementing each other. A major finding of the study confirmed the benefits of inservice activities with an integral focus of science content and pedagogy on enhancing teachers' approach to instruction. The findings give renewed emphasis to the importance that inquiry-based practices for working with teachers, combined with a specific subject-matter focus, have in designing effective professional development. This combined approach, in some instances, contributed to important gains in the pedagogical content knowledge that teachers needed in order to effectively implement the Microcosmos learning experiences.
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Boston UniversityPLEASE NOTE: Boston University Libraries did not receive an Authorization To Manage form for this thesis or dissertation. It is therefore not openly accessible, though it may be available by request. If you are the author or principal advisor of this work and would like to request open access for it, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.