The Exploratorium's Institute for Inquiry (IFI) has planned a 2-day conference that will examine current strategies, issues and future challenges related to teacher professional development regarding integrating inquiry-oriented science instruction and English Language Development (ELD) for K-5 students. The conference convenes 40 researchers and professional development practitioners who examine theory and practice in inquiry-based science instruction and ELD, focusing on three overall objectives:
1. Learn how inquiry-oriented science instruction can provide a good context for learning English and science.
2. Address the conceptual challenges and perspectives that inquiry-oriented science instruction and ELD present.
3. Articulate the issues that the challenges of inquiry science and ELD present to professional development programs that support teachers in adapting their knowledge and classroom practice to an integrated science/ELD approach.
The conference keynote, delivered by Guadalupe Valdés, addresses the language demands and opportunities that are introduced in the science and engineering practices described in the National Research Council?s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the NGSS. (The framework is based on a recent article co-authored by Valdés.) Participants include practitioners and researchers in science education, teacher education, professional development, language acquisition, and bilingual education. The conference will combine presentations providing overviews of current research and practice, combined with the use of case studies and working sessions to arrive at overall recommendations for directions for future research, professional development and practice.
Key conference outcomes include:
- A set of research questions.
- A set of principles and guidelines for professional development related to ELD and science.
- Articles submitted to journals and professional publications by conference organizers and participants that will disseminate conference ideas, as well as conference presentations.
- Partnerships developed between practitioners and researchers.
- Case studies published on the IFI website.
- Continuing dialogue via blogs, webinars, and the IFI website.
Conference outcomes will be disseminated through research and professional development journals, conference presentations, and the IFI website.