Teacher Practice

Ambitious Science Teaching

Ambitious Science Teaching outlines a powerful framework for science teaching to ensure that instruction is rigorous and equitable for students from all backgrounds. The practices presented in the book are being used in schools and districts that seek to improve science teaching at scale, and a wide range of science subjects and grade levels are represented.
Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2018
Short Description: 
Ambitious Science Teaching outlines a powerful framework for science teaching to ensure that instruction is rigorous and equitable for students from all backgrounds. The practices presented in the book are being used in schools and districts that seek to improve science teaching at scale, and a wide range of science subjects and grade levels are represented.

Uncovering the Skills That Preservice Teachers Bring to Teacher Education: The Practice of Eliciting a Student’s Thinking

Although teacher education is the formal means by which novices are prepared for teaching, they come having already had significant experience in schools. Preservice teachers have formed habits of “teaching” which influence their learning to teach. This article reports a study of the specific knowledge of and skills with teaching practice that novices bring to teacher education with respect to one teaching practice, eliciting student thinking in elementary mathematics, and describes the use of a standardized teaching simulation to learn about novices’ skills.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2018
Short Description: 
This article reports a study of the specific knowledge of and skills with teaching practice that novices bring to teacher education with respect to one teaching practice, eliciting student thinking in elementary mathematics, and describes the use of a standardized teaching simulation to learn about novices’ skills.

Early Childhood Educators’ Self-Efficacy in Science, Math, and Literacy Instruction and Science Practice in the Classroom

Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers’ beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers’ practice in the area of science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Year: 
2017
Short Description: 
Quality early science education is important for addressing the low science achievement, compared to international peers, of elementary students in the United States. Teachers’ beliefs about their skills in a content area, that is, their content self-efficacy is important because it has implications for teaching practice and child outcomes. However, little is known about how teachers’ self-efficacy for literacy, math and science compare and how domain-specific self-efficacy relates to teachers’ practice in the area of science. Analysis of survey and observation data from 67 Head Start classrooms across eight programs indicated that domain-specific self-efficacy was highest for literacy, significantly lower for science, and lowest for math. Classrooms varied, but in general, engaged in literacy far more than science, contained a modest amount of science materials, and their instructional support of science was low. Importantly, self-efficacy for science, but not literacy or math, related to teachers frequency of engaging children in science instruction. Teachers’ education and experience did not predict self-efficacy for science. Practice or Policy: To enhance the science opportunities provided in early childhood classrooms, pre-service and in-service education programs should provide teachers with content and practices for science rather than focusing exclusively on literacy. Now more than ever, scientific literacy (i.e., systemizing methods, engaging in critical comparison, utilizing research to inform practice) has been recognized as vital for the 21st-century workforce (National Research Council, 2010 National Research Council. (2010). Exploring the intersection of science education and 21st century skills: A workshop summary. National Research Council. Washington, DC: National Academies Press). Strong science education is critical for developing these skills in the U.S. population. However, U.S. elementary children perform below several of their international peers in science achievement tests (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2012). This is not surprising considering that the foundation for scientific understanding is shaky: Elementary teachers spend just 6% to 13% of their instructional time teaching science (NCES, 2012 National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The condition of education 2012. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2012/2012045.pdf), and preschool teachers devote even less time (4%–8% of instructional time) to promoting science experiences (Tu, 2006 Tu, T. (2006). Preschool science environment: What is available in a preschool classroom? Early Childhood Education Journal, 33, 245–251. doi:10.1007/s10643-005-0049-8). A primary factor, particularly among early childhood educators, is a lack of preparation for designing and implementing science education, which results in little confidence for teaching science (Greenfield et al., 2009 Greenfield, D. B., Jirout, J., Dominguez, X., Greenberg, A., Maier, M., & Fuccillo, J. (2009). Science in the preschool classroom: A programmatic research agenda to improve science readiness. Early Education & Development, 20, 238–264. doi:10.1080/10409280802595441; Hamlin & Wisneski, 2012 Hamlin, M., & Wisneski, D. B. (2012). Supporting the scientific thinking and inquiry of toddlers and preschoolers through play. Young Children, 67, 82–88). Of course, children are unlikely to develop necessary science knowledge and skills without effective science instruction and experiences (Gelman & Brenneman, 2012 Gelman, R., & Brenneman, K. (2012). Classrooms as learning labs. In N. Stein & S. Raudenbusch (Eds.), Developmental science goes to school (pp. 113–126). New York, NY: Routledge; Morris, Croker, Masnick, & Zimmerman, 2012 Morris, B. J., Croker, S., Masnick, A. M., & Zimmerman, C. (2012). The emergence of scientific reasoning. In H. Kloos, B. J. Morris, & J. L. Amaral (Eds.), Current topics in children’s learning and cognition (pp. 61–82). Rijeka, Croatia: InTech). Thus, one critical research aim fulfilled by the present study was to describe early childhood educator self-efficacy for science and identify how self-efficacy is related to the science opportunities provided in early childhood classrooms.

Teachers Extending Their Knowledge in Online Collaborative Learning Environments: Opportunities and Challenges

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Fri

Join two projects to discuss the challenges and opportunities afforded through online environments for providing professional development and supporting classroom implementation of mathematical practices.

Date/Time: 
9:15 am to 10:45 am
Session Materials: 

Teams of researchers from Drexel University, Rutgers University, University of Missouri, and the Math Forum have been investigating online environments for math education and math teacher professional learning communities. The Virtual Math Teams project has developed a synchronous, multi-user GeoGebra implementation and studies the learning of small groups as well as the preparation of teachers to facilitate this learning.

Session Types: 

Supports for Elementary Teachers Implementing the NGSS: Challenges and Opportunities across Science, Technology, and Engineering

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Fri

Consider methods and challenges associated with supporting upper elementary teachers’ implementation of NGSS-based classroom interventions in this structured poster session.

Date/Time: 
9:15 am to 10:45 am
Session Materials: 

In this structured poster session, a set of projects will present and discuss resources, models, and tools (RMTs) designed to support upper elementary teachers to implement an array of curricular and instructional interventions reflecting diverse disciplinary concepts and practices embodied in NGSS. The session aims to provide a forum for exploring diverse approaches to improving science in 3rd-5th-grade classrooms and engage in discussion about how these ideas can advance systemic efforts to support quality science instruction and student learning. 

Session Types: 

Exploring the Relationship between Rigorous Curriculum Materials and the Development of Ambitious Mathematics Instructional Practices

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Fri

Hear the findings and perspectives of three projects investigating the impact of and challenges related to teachers’ use of ambitious instructional materials on their knowledge and practice.

Date/Time: 
9:15 am to 10:45 am
Session Materials: 

This session will focus on implementations of curriculum materials, especially with regard to ambitious mathematics and pedagogy, and participants will consider how materials are interpreted and enacted, and the means of support that facilitate development of ambitious mathematics and pedagogy. Presenters from three DR K-12 projects will share frameworks and findings from their work, followed by participant discussion.

Session Types: 

Preparing Teachers to Support Rich Disciplinary Discussions in Their Classrooms

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Thu

Learn about pre- or in-service teacher education activities designed to support teacher facilitation of student disciplinary discussions through enactments that illustrate teacher education activities.

Date/Time: 
2:15 pm to 3:45 pm
Session Materials: 

Often the most we know about our colleagues’ on-the-ground support of teachers is what we read in the methods sections of research articles, or what has been reified many times over in their published teacher learning materials. We rarely get to see, much less experience, one another’s approaches to supporting teachers. This session will open up the black-box of our work with teachers for discussion and scrutiny.

Session Types: 

Practicum-based Professional Development Models: Considering Impacts from Multiple Perspectives

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Thu

Join a discussion about making, understanding, and measuring the impacts of practicum-based teacher professional development models, and aspects of policy and context that mediate these impacts.

Date/Time: 
2:15 pm to 3:45 pm
Session Materials: 

Professional development projects aim to improve student learning by directly impacting teachers. However, the work of teachers (and thus the potential impact of professional development) is often impacted by a number of policy and context-related factors. This poses a challenge not only in programming designed to impact teachers, but also to the ability to detect these impacts through rigorous research designs.

Session Types: 

Longitudinal Studies of Teacher Development in Elementary Mathematics and Science

STEM Categorization: 
Day: 
Thu

Learn about the work and findings of two longitudinal studies examining the development of knowledge, beliefs, and instructional practices among pre-service and early-career elementary teachers in mathematics and science.

Date/Time: 
2:15 pm to 3:45 pm

Over the past five years, research teams at Western Washington University and North Carolina State University have each conducted longitudinal studies to examine elementary teacher development in mathematics and science. Specifically, they have investigated the development of pre-service/novice teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and instructional practices during teacher preparation and into their initial years of teaching. 

Session Types: 

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