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A Longitudinal Study of Science Teacher Preparation


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Title: A Longitudinal Study of Science Teacher Preparation

A Longitudinal Study of Science Teacher
  • Charles W. (Andy) Anderson, Gail Richmond, Ajay
    Sharma, Shinho Jang, Kelly Grindstaff, In-Young
  • Michigan State University

Acknowledgement of Support
  • This work is made possible in part by grants from
    the Knowles Foundation and the U.S. Department of

Overview of Secondary Teacher Preparation Program
  • Five-year program
  • Application/admission in sophomore year
  • BA/BS degree in 4 years
  • Fifth-year internship w/certification
  • Field- and university-based experiences
  • Diverse placements

Overview of Courses
  • TE 150 (pre-admission)
  • TE 250 (pre-admission)
  • TE 301 (Junior year)
  • TE 401, 402 (Senior or Pre-internship year)
  • TE 501, 502, 801, 802, 803, 804 (Internship year)

Identity Core Values
  • Respect
  • Interest and motivation
  • Connection to students
  • Science learning

Problems of Practice
  • Relearning science content developing goals for
    students content understanding
  • Understanding students assessing their learning
  • Developing teaching strategies
  • Accessing/managing resources relationships

Transforming Scientists Science into School
  • Ajay Sharma and Charles W. Anderson

Purpose of the Study
  • To examine the transformation of science from a
    scientists lab to a classroom.
  • To explore the implications of this
    transformation for teacher candidates.

Science as Practiced by Scientists
  • Science should not be seen as a sharply defined
    concept, but should be considered as denoting a
    series of paradigmatic examples including other
    closely similar activities.
  • Two major common strands that run through the
    different paradigmatic examples associated with
    doing science
  • Engagement in two dialogic relationships - with
    nature and with scientific community - that go
    hand-in-hand, deeply and inalienably intertwined,
    each enriching and building upon the other.
  • Scientific discourse as an organ of persuasion.

Scientific research from a dialogic perspective
  • Scientists while collecting data engage in a
    dialogue with nature.
  • This dialogue provides them an experiential base
    from which they seek patterns, and draw
  • Doing science also involves engagement in
    dialogic discursive relationships with other
    researchers for rhetorical purposes.

Science from a rhetorical perspective
  • Communicating scientific research is a big part
    of a scientists work.
  • Research communication as an act of persuasion.
  • The influence of rhetoric on how scientific
    knowledge is presented and communicated.

Scientific Communication
  • Genre of scientific communication - effective in
    persuading those who share experience and
  • Empirical evidence as a rhetorical tool in
    research communication.
  • Rhetorical demands on a scientific text act to
    present an edited, even distorted, image of
    scientific inquiry.
  • Increasing nominalization in scientific texts.
  • Research communication as dialogic interaction.

School Science
  • Recontextualization of the scientific discourse.
  • Effects of recontextualization on how science is
    presented and taught in classrooms
  • Transformation of scientific knowledge into a
    crystallized, secure, fixed, body of knowledge.
  • Increasing nominalization in textbooks.
  • The change in the nature of dialogic relations.
  • Scientific authority replaces empirical
    experience as the preferred means of persuasion.
  • Students lack a meta-level awareness of the role
    and power of empirical evidence as a legitimate
    means of persuasion.
  • Performance for grade exchange students
    reproduce authoritative knowledge in exchange for

The nature of tensions between educator and
teacher candidate beliefs about science teaching
  • Gail Richmond Charles (Andy) Anderson

Assignments/Data Sources
  • Teaching cycles (5)
  • Clarifying goals
  • Big ideas (patterns, models, theories)
  • Examples of real-world systems, phenomena
  • Objectives for student learning (practices
    relating big ideas to examples through
    application and inquiry
  • Planning and teaching classroom activities
  • Assessment, revision, reflection
  • Analysis of 3 students learning
  • Assessments for multiple purposes
  • Analytically derived claims for learning
  • Reflection on experiences rationale for

  • Relearning science content/Developing goals for
    student understanding

What we value
  • Helping students make sense out of the world by
    engaging them in application (making sense of
    patterns in experience) and inquiry (using
    scientific models and theories to solve practical
    problems or understand the material world)

What teacher candidates value
  • Application inquiry
  • Facts, definitions, algorithms
  • Science appreciation

Angelyn Application and Inquiry
  • Objectives were focused on application/inquiry
    and how students could demonstrate their
    understanding (e.g., Students will explain how
    the cell cycle helps living things maintain a
    stable internal environment Students will
    evaluate claims regarding potential agents that
    lead to mutations in the DNA that may lead to
  • it is very easy to teach science as discrete
    units of information and this is a dangerous way
    to teach. In order to truly learn and love
    science the students must see how it all works in
    concert and be able to connect one idea to the
    next. Even if a lesson is well planned and
    potentially great it must lie in the correct
    sequence with the other lessons for the students
    to get the most out of it. (TE 401 Lesson 1

  • After teaching this topic I have come to
    better understanding of how this topic fits into
    the bigger picture. I realized that the
    students needed to connect cancer to replication,
    translation, transcription, the cell cycle, and
    homeostasis. I was approaching this topic
    (cancer) with blinders on. I wanted the students
    to understand cancer, but what I never really
    realized was that this topic was an example or
    platform, in which to connect the topics
    mentioned above all together. (TE 402 Lesson

  • Its more than facts. To learn any unit in
    science really should go through the whole
    Whats the question? What are we seeing? What
    do we think? Whats our proof? Like that. And I
    think it should be infused in every
    lesson.(Interview, 21-April-02)

Jared Facts, definitions, algorithms
  • Objectives had fact- or list-generating orientati
    on (e.g., List the factors that affect climate
    Name the inner outer planets) or were not
    directed at what students can do (e.g.,
    Understand how we measure earthquakes Understand
    how you can be safe during an earthquake and what
    you can do)

  • My assessment task for this lesson was a
    worksheet that had vocabulary and section
    questions. As I went through my lesson I was able
    to ask questions about ideas from the lesson and
    see if the students understood them and when I
    thought they did I would tell them to look at the
    worksheet and fill it in so that as they went
    along they would be able to follow what was
    happening and so they could go back and refer to
    past information if I asked them a question. (TE
    402 Lesson 2 Paper)

  • The handouts I usually go over with them, so
    that they understand what they got wrong and what
    is right, cause I do not like them to leave
    their classroom and know that granite forms from
    gneiss rocks, marble forms limestone. If they
    screw that up, I like them to know before they
    leave the classroom. . They had to define what
    is sedimentary rock. The good definition is
    important for them. And another one was the
    classification of sedimentary rocks. That in the
    book gives secondary headings or sub-secondary
    headings.(Interview , 12 April)

Sheila Science appreciation
  • Objectives were vague not focused on concrete
    ways students could demonstrate understanding
    (e.g., Relate motion of objects to unbalanced
    forces in two dimensions), although ability to
    construct appropriate objectives improved over
  • So for the most part this 3-day lesson was good.
    The activities were fun and kept the kids
    entertained while learning.I liked the activity
    that I did with the scientists and their views of
    the solar system. This got them thinking of the
    different views and how they looked and it
    allowed them a little fun time with cut, paste,
    and color. I also liked the activity where they
    drew the planets, colored them the way that they
    actually looked, and found facts on each planet.
    (TE 402, Three-Day Lesson Paper)

  • I had a hard time, at the beginning, to think
    what I already know. Like what experiences they
    brought in, coming up with examples, real world
    examples..I was having a real tough time with
    that. Patterns were (a) big thing in my
    planning. Cause I wanted them to see those. The
    whole inner and outer and you know. What the
    atmospheres, they are different and similar to
    earth. So that was as big thing. And then
    explaining why that happened. That was really
    what I want them to saywhy? (Interview, 19 April

Results (continued)
  • Understanding students assessing their learning

What we value
  • The goal of helping students develop a deep
    understanding of science, which requires using
    what you know about students to
  • Identify barriers to their understanding
  • Create situations that motivate them to learn
  • Develop fair assessments that address core
    concepts in meaningful ways

What Teacher Candidates Value
  • Understanding students for assessment of learning
  • Grading fairly Quantitative approach
  • Grading fairly Qualitative approach

Angelyn Assessing student understanding
  • Although Stans first 3 responses are lacking
    this connection, his last three begin to
    demonstrate this pattern in his thinking. For
    example he states that the function of a nerve
    cell is to carry messages to the brain and that
    for its shape it connects to other cells. I
    (am) assuming that he understand(s) that nerve
    cells connect to other cells to pass this message
    along. Again his example of function doesnt
    match exactly to the shape, but at least the main
    idea of sending a message is present in both
    examples He seemed to finally make the
    connection on this last example and this might be
    due to his prior knowledge. He wrote that its
    function is to destroy antigens and it helps it
    identify the antigen. Although I can assume
    that he (is) referring to antibodies on the
    outside of the picture of the cell he never
    really says that, so Im not entirely sure he
    grasped the pattern. I think that he is close to
    making the connection, but he needs more coaching
    and fading. (TE 401 Lesson report)

Jared Grading Fairly/Quantitative
  • I dont like pre-assessment. I think
    pre-assessment is a pain. When you give them (a)
    pre-assessment, they cant write anything because
    they did not learn it yet. (Interview, 12 April
  • The answers that they gave me to the same
    questions when I asked them were not the same
    ones on the assessment. It is like in the few
    minutes before they got the handout they forgot
    everything. Most of the answer were not to (sic)
    completely wrong they just seemed to get confused
    with the question or mixed up the names of the
    scientists.I believe they learned but I just
    think that they have just confused a few things.
    (TE 401 Lesson 2 Paper)

Sheila Grading Fairly/Qualitative
  • During class she gave correct answers to
    questions that I posed to the class, and she
    seemed to really understand itshe even said she
    got it, which she never does. When I handed out
    the quick-write she was right up at the desk
    asking me if what she was thinking was
    right.(Rob) is a very quiet boy and doesnt
    really get involved in class. I need to try to
    get him more involved. I forget about the
    students that dont raise their hands..Kellis
    response was the best out of the three of
    them.She was the one that was paying attention
    during the lesson and gave answers to questions
    that were asked. Kelli seems to try pretty hard
    when doing her work. She doesnt always do real
    well, but she seems to give all of herself to her
    work. (TE401 Lesson 2 Paper)

Tensions between Values and Practices in Learning
to Teach Elementary Science
  • Shinho Jang, Gail Richmond, and Charles W.

Background of the Four Elementary Candidates
  • Amy B.A. in Outdoor and Environmental
    Recreation A State Park Naturalist a yearlong
    internship at an outdoor science school.
  • Ken B.A. in Elementary Education not enjoyed
    learning chemistry and physics.
  • Steve Pre-medicine major took many science
    courses two years of laboratory experience in
    the Medical Center.
  • Leigh B.A. in Botany and Plant Pathology worked
    at the Plant Research Lab helping with a research
    project for more than 12 years.

Core values and concerns
  • Two goals Student Interest Science Learning
  • Amy I found that many of the students have
    negative associations with science, or really
    dont know much about it. I have worked hard to
    prepare a lesson that is both fun and engaging
    (Journal, 05/26/2002).
  • Steve I want to make sure that Im not just
    playing games or doing fun experiments without
    getting the points across that theyre trying to
    discover through the experiments like the laws or
    whatever (Interview, 07/19/2002).

Understanding and teaching science content
  • Made different choices to reconciling their
  • Contrast in their approaches
  • Some candidates saw their dual goals as
    inherently in conflictnot seeing science content
    as intrinsically interesting.
  • Other candidates saw their dual goals as
    inherently in connectionseeking activities that
    would make science intrinsically interesting to

Understanding and teaching science content
  • Ken hands-on activities that were interesting
    for his students
  • I believe that science can almost teach
    itself to students as long as it is set up
    properly for the students to discover and
    explore. That is how I learn best and how a lot
    of children learn best. The role of the teacher
    is to set up situations where students can learn
    best and then get out of the way (Autobiography,
  • Steve essential facts and definitions, even if
    that required a more didactic style of teaching.
  • What Im trying to do in the classroom is to
    transfer knowledge, and transfer true knowledge,
    thats the ideal (Interview, 07/19/2002).

Understanding and teaching science content
  • Amy the intrinsic interest of science lay in
    developing students appreciation of nature and
    empathy for animals and plants in our natural
  • This (lesson) will be accomplished through
    student involvement with a hands-on activity in
    which they pretend they are black bears in a
    forest gathering food (Lesson plan, 06/10/02).
  • Leigh the intrinsic interest of science lay in
    the power of model-based reasoning
  • When given a range of different liquids
    students will be able to calculate, compare, and
    describe the viscosities of the liquids based on
    their use of a viscometer (Lesson Plan,

Understanding student thinking
  • Their ways of understanding students varied
  • Some candidates saw the goals of student
    interest and student learning as separate
  • Other candidates sought to connect intrinsic
    student interest in science with student

Understanding student thinking
  • Ken finding evidence of students motivation,
    enthusiasm, and enjoyment
  • I think its imperative that I can keep the
    kids interested, because if theyre just
    following my instructions and theyre not
    learning anything and, its really not any fun for
    them. The kids are going to pull a lot more out
    of it if the kids are excited and interested in
    what you are talking about (Interview,
  • Steve finding evidence of students acquired
    certain facts and correct definitions
  • I just wanted to see if they actually knew
    the things that were actually taught them. For
    that one we had the blanks of the life cycle, and
    they filled in the blanks I think that they were
    able to distinguish between physical traits of
    the animals. I mean they could tell what was
    related, they knew that in the life cycle stage,
    they both started out as eggs (Interview,

Understanding student thinking
  • Amy for conceptual understanding through
    students personal experience in interactions
    with nature and environment
  • I would ask them those questions about why
    they chose to do this and just talk to me a
    little bit about your black bear, to see if they
    understood (Interview, 06/21/2002).
  • Leigh for model-based reasoning for inquiry and
  • Remember last week in our density-measuring
    device we had corn syrup, water, and oil. This
    means a liquid, which is more viscous than
    another one doesnt always have a higher density,
    too. Which two liquids from our experiment last
    week are an example of this? Why? (Laboratory
    Worksheet, 06/10/2002)

  • Comparison with Secondary candidates
  • Steve and Leigh similar to the more and less
    successful secondary candidates
  • Textbook knowledge or Model-based reasoning
  • Ken and Amy different from secondary
  • Science appreciation Activity oriented

  • Ken and Amy Rhetorical similarities but
    important differences in practice
  • Ken having very limited fact-oriented view of
    scientific knowledge, leading him to reject facts
    as worthwhile goal
  • Amy having naturalists view, emphasis on
    experience with nature, but with clearer goals
    and ideas about student development

  • Key difference among candidates ability to
    reconcile goals of learning and motivation
  • Leigh and Amy looking for ways to help students
    see intrinsic interest of science
  • Ken and Steve pursuing one goal at the expense
    of the other
  • Possible causes
  • the different levels of scientific knowledge
  • ways of thinking about science that the
    candidates brought with them to the program.

Learning from Field Experiences Teacher
Candidates Goals and Practices
  • Kelly Grindstaff, In-Young Cho, and Charles W.

Looking at Classroom Practice Data Sources
  • Lesson Plan and Reports from four one-day
    lessons, and one three-day lesson
  • included goals for student learning, teaching
    activities, assessment of student learning, and
    reflections on what they would do differently
  • Observations of classroom teaching
  • Interviews about teaching
  • Statements of teaching philosophy

Foci of Case Studies
  • Personal background experience with science
  • Teaching situation
  • Ideas about what students should learn and how
    students learn
  • Ideas about student and teacher roles in
  • Classroom practice and judgments about classroom

Jared what and how students (should) learn -
reproducing fact
  • The assessment for this section was the two page
    handout that reviewed what the students should
    have learned in the lecture - Lesson 1 Report,
    fall semester
  • The first big idea of the solar system is the
    Earth-centered Model ..The second big idea is
    the Sun-Centered Model . - Lesson 2 Report,
    fall semester
  • They (the students) had to define what is
    sedimentary rock. A good definition is important
    for them.

Jared roles of teachers and students -
  • If they feel bored, they wont try to learn
  • I look at participation as the biggest thing .
    Because it (matters) more that they actually did
    the work, they took the time to sit down, be
    quiet, follow the directions . - Interview,
    spring semester
  • When students are given a chance for hands-on
    work, they are more likely to do their work and
    participate more in class - Lesson Plan and
    Report, spring semester

Jared perceptions of practice - unmotivated
  • Summer is a student who can understand if she
    wants to pay attention in class. For the most
    part she does not .
  • I have to get them more involved and not just
    filling out worksheets. This will be hard with
    so many students who like to talk and not get any
    work done.
  • It is like in the few minutes before they got the
    handout they forgot everything.
  • They (the students) were having a hard time
    following the chart and linking what they learned
    in the lesson the day before to the lab.

Jared background situation
  • Earth science major and history minor
  • Senior year placement (4 hours per week) in a
    lower track earth science class in an urban
  • Dissatisfied with mentor teacher
  • Had attended a Catholic high school
  • High academic achievement
  • Thought he would like to get a job in a suburban
    middle school

Jeff - what and how students (should) learn -
relevant facts
  • My biggest concern in teaching is being able to
    relate this information, or any information for
    that matter, to my students lives. I believe
    that if students cannot see the things that we
    are talking about in class in the real world
    then they will be far less likely to retain or
    even reuse this information. - Lesson 1 Plan
    Report, fall semester

Jeff roles of teachers and students - transmit
  • We have pacing guides of things we need to cover
    in each unit, and these are more specific
    scientific principles than a general
    understanding of science as a whole.
  • I decided on notes rather than a demo since I am
    trying to get used to putting things out. So
    I am limited by what information she (his mentor)
    wants me to transmit. - interview, fall semester

Jeff perceptions of practice - success
relevant fun
  • I was very pleased with the students response to
    the lesson. I got satisfaction out of hearing the
    students point out parks that they had played in
    before .The student really took to the map
    exercise. They said things like,can we color in
    all the things or should we only do gravel mines
    for now? - 3-day Lesson Report, semester
  • Maybe there isnt a much better way than I did it
    today but that doesnt mean I cant keep
    searching for it. - interview, fall semester

Jeff background situation
  • Biology major and chemistry minor
  • Senior year placement (4 hours per week) in an
    urban middle school science classroom teaching
    earth science
  • Felt experience was the best teacher
  • Average academic achievement
  • Thought he would like to get a job teaching high
    school biology

Educational philosophy
  • Lisa Barab everyone can learn science
  • I strongly believe that all students can learn
    science. Therefore, I must find a way to teach
    it in a way that incorporates this belief. I plan
    to accomplish it by guiding students through the
    process needed to develop a sound conceptual
    understanding of science. This process begins
    with activating the students existing knowledge
    to link new knowledge to what they already know
    and understand well.

Educational philosophy
  • Mike Barker - importance of educational career in
    individual life
  • As a student and teacher, I have discovered the
    tremendous value education has in a persons
    life. My goal is to identify the students who
    have overlooked the importance of learning and
    give them access to all the opportunities
    education offers. If I can do this for just a
    handful of students, my teaching career will be a
    complete success.

Educational goals for science teaching
  • Lisa Barab - conceptual understanding
  • Constructing conceptual understanding through
    scientific inquiry, incorporating students prior
    knowledge and life experiences
  • - My teaching of science will incorporate
    application of scientific knowledge to practical
    life experiences and employ the significance of
    science inquiryAltogether, these will make
    learning science exciting and interesting, and
    more importantly understandable.

Educational goals for science teaching
  • Mike Baker transfer of knowledge and problem
    solving skills
  • Make students become successful citizens in the
    future by providing students with useful tools of
    correct understanding of procedures and
    mathematical relationships
  • - In some circumstances, the best explanation
    may occur once the foundation is established,
    which may take more than one lesson. On the
    other hand, offering a rudimentary explanation
    will assist the students in remembering a set of

Perception of teachers and students roles
  • Lisa Barab facilitator and critical thinker
    engaged in scientific inquiry
  • - provoke students interest in classroom
  • - careful analysis of students reasoning skills
    and understanding
  • - participate fun and plausible scientific
    inquiry process

Perception of teachers and students roles
  • Mike Baker transmitter and user of algorithmic
  • - help students to accomplish their academic
  • - provide students with key problem-solving
  • - transfer of knowledge in a procedural form

Personal background and teaching situation
  • Lisa Barab
  • - Physical chemist father
  • - High academic achievement
  • - Science research experience
  • - Great interest in science
  • - Teaching chemistry in suburban high school

Personal background and teaching situation
  • Mike Baker
  • - A manager of R D technology in chemical
    engineering company
  • - High academic achievement
  • - Strong self-confidence in science content
    knowledge and teaching strategy
  • - Positive attitude about science teaching
  • - Teaching chemistry in suburban high school

What shapes practical knowledge and performance
in science teaching ?
  • Educational philosophy
  • Educational goals for science teaching
  • Perceptions of teachers role in science
  • Classroom teaching situation
  • Personal prior knowledge and experiences

Expectancy X Value Model
  • The likelihood that an individual will expend
    effort on a task is proportional to the product
    of two factors
  • the degree to which they value both the outcome
    of and engagement with the task (i.e., the
    product and the process)
  • the degree to which they expect to be able to
    perform that task successfully, provided they
    apply themselves

Zone of Proximal Development
  • Practices a newcomer can carry out only with the
    support of more knowledgeable individuals
  • (e.g., Vygotsky, Lave Wenger)

Combined Framework
  • Those practices that appear within an
    individuals ZPD are those that she may not be
    able to successfully carry out independently, but
    they are practices she both values highly and has
    a high expectancy of success with support from us
    or others


  • We try to convince candidates of the importance
    of our values by
  • --designing assignments consonant with our
  • --assigning grades for successful completion of
    these assignments
  • We help increase expectancy for success by
    providing scaffolded opportunities to learn more
  • --the learning process
  • --their content understanding
  • --the students they teach

Implications (continued)
  • Our goals may not have been reached because we
    may not have sufficiently understood our
    candidates ZPDs
  • --For candidates who hold values consistent with
    our own, no problems arise (practices are within
    their ZPDs)
  • --For other candidates, problems arise because
    the practices are outside their ZPDs. They may
    reinterpret our assignments to focus on practices
    that they valued more highly or for which they
    had a greater expectancy of success

  • What we hope to do
  • --modify our expectations of the candidates
  • --try to modify their values and expectancies of
  • Target goals
  • --create assignments that more consistently
    engage them in the practices that are within
    their ZPDs
  • --help candidate develop more sophisticated
    teaching practices

Factors Affecting Candidates Practice
  • Personal resources and values Science knowledge
    and experience, insights into students, core
    values and priorities, etc.
  • Culture of school and classroom Resources,
    opportunities, values
  • Culture of teacher preparation program
    Resources, assignments, opportunities, values

  • Importance of school placements and experiences
    in schools
  • Importance of experiences with science and
    resulting knowledge and ideas about the nature of
  • Conceptual change problems in teacher
    preparation We know better what we need to work

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