A Longitudinal Study of Science Teacher Preparation • Charles W. (Andy) Anderson, Gail Richmond, Ajay Sharma, Shinho Jang, Kelly Grindstaff, In-Young Cho • 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 Education
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 Science • Ajay Sharma and Charles W. Anderson
Purpose of the Study • To examine the transformation of science from a scientist’s 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 explanations. • 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 scientist’s 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 discourse. • 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 grades.
The nature of tensions between educator and teacher candidate beliefs about science teaching practice 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 revisions
Results 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 cancer) …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 Paper)
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 paper)
It’s more than facts. To learn any unit in science really should go through the whole: What’s the question? What are we seeing? What do we think? What’s 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 orientation (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 time. 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 say—why? (Interview, 19 April 02)
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 Stan’s 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 doesn’t 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 I’m 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 don’t like pre-assessment. I think pre-assessment is a pain. When you give them (a) pre-assessment, they can’t write anything because they did not learn it yet. (Interview, 12 April 2002) 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 it…she 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 doesn’t really get involved in class. I need to try to get him more involved. I forget about the students that don’t raise their hands…..Kelli’s 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 doesn’t 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. Anderson
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 don’t 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 I’m not just playing games or doing fun experiments without getting the points across that they’re 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 desires • Contrast in their approaches • Some candidates saw their dual goals as inherently in conflict—not seeing science content as intrinsically interesting. • Other candidates saw their dual goals as inherently in connection—seeking activities that would make science intrinsically interesting to students
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, 05/23/2002). • Steve: essential facts and definitions, even if that required a more didactic style of teaching. What I’m trying to do in the classroom is to transfer knowledge, and transfer true knowledge, that’s 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 environment. 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, 06/10/2002).
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 learning.
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 they’re just following my instructions and they’re 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, 06/20/2002). • 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, 07/19/2002).
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 application 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 doesn’t 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)
Discussion • 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 candidates : Science appreciation & Activity oriented practice
Discussion • 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 naturalist’s view, emphasis on experience with nature, but with clearer goals and ideas about student development
Discussion • 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. Anderson
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 classrooms • Classroom practice and judgments about classroom practice
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 - participation • If they feel bored, they won’t 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 students • 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.