Professional Development

Co-Designing for Statewide Alignment of a Vision for High-Quality Mathematics Instruction (Collaborative Research: Wilson)

This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

Award Number: 
2100903
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Mathematics teaching and learning is influenced by policy and practice at the state, district, and school levels. To support large-scale change, it is important for high-quality mathematics instruction to be aligned and cohesive across each level of the education system. This can be supported through regional partnerships among state, district, and school-based leaders, mathematics teachers, education researchers, and mathematicians. Such partnerships create instructional tools and resources to document the vision for instruction. For example, teams can work together to create instructional frameworks for each grade band that describe standards, mathematics teaching, and units for teaching. This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

This project will develop a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction intended to improve systemic coherence during the implementation of education innovations. The project uses a research-practice partnership with a design-based implementation research design. To examine and support implementation of the vision, partners will continue a process of developing instructional frameworks, research and practice briefs, as well as additional resources as needed by stakeholders in the system. Engaging partners at all levels of the system is a central component of developing the shared vision of instruction. This project includes three major research questions. First, what are visions of high-quality mathematics instruction held by educators at different levels of a state educational system? Second, in what ways do educators' visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their use of implementation resources in practice? Finally, in what ways do educators’ visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their participation in the co-design of implementation resources? An activity theory framework is used to understand the interactions between partners at different levels in the system and the creation of artifacts during the design process. The research methods for the study are situated in design-based research to capture the conjectures, instructional resources, design processes, and outcomes of the process. The project will use case studies of partner districts, data gathering from interactions with partners, artifacts of the design process, and other documentation to understand how the vision is created and enacted in different settings and to develop an empirically supported design framework and methodology for implementing STEM innovations at scale that centralizes a shared instructional vision.

Co-Designing for Statewide Alignment of a Vision for High-Quality Mathematics Instruction (Collaborative Research: Mawhinney)

This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100833
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Mathematics teaching and learning is influenced by policy and practice at the state, district, and school levels. To support large-scale change, it is important for high-quality mathematics instruction to be aligned and cohesive across each level of the education system. This can be supported through regional partnerships among state, district, and school-based leaders, mathematics teachers, education researchers, and mathematicians. Such partnerships create instructional tools and resources to document the vision for instruction. For example, teams can work together to create instructional frameworks for each grade band that describe standards, mathematics teaching, and units for teaching. This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

This project will develop a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction intended to improve systemic coherence during the implementation of education innovations. The project uses a research-practice partnership with a design-based implementation research design. To examine and support implementation of the vision, partners will continue a process of developing instructional frameworks, research and practice briefs, as well as additional resources as needed by stakeholders in the system. Engaging partners at all levels of the system is a central component of developing the shared vision of instruction. This project includes three major research questions. First, what are visions of high-quality mathematics instruction held by educators at different levels of a state educational system? Second, in what ways do educators' visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their use of implementation resources in practice? Finally, in what ways do educators’ visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their participation in the co-design of implementation resources? An activity theory framework is used to understand the interactions between partners at different levels in the system and the creation of artifacts during the design process. The research methods for the study are situated in design-based research to capture the conjectures, instructional resources, design processes, and outcomes of the process. The project will use case studies of partner districts, data gathering from interactions with partners, artifacts of the design process, and other documentation to understand how the vision is created and enacted in different settings and to develop an empirically supported design framework and methodology for implementing STEM innovations at scale that centralizes a shared instructional vision.

Co-Designing for Statewide Alignment of a Vision for High-Quality Mathematics Instruction (Collaborative Research: Schwartz)

This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2100895
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Mathematics teaching and learning is influenced by policy and practice at the state, district, and school levels. To support large-scale change, it is important for high-quality mathematics instruction to be aligned and cohesive across each level of the education system. This can be supported through regional partnerships among state, district, and school-based leaders, mathematics teachers, education researchers, and mathematicians. Such partnerships create instructional tools and resources to document the vision for instruction. For example, teams can work together to create instructional frameworks for each grade band that describe standards, mathematics teaching, and units for teaching. This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

This project will develop a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction intended to improve systemic coherence during the implementation of education innovations. The project uses a research-practice partnership with a design-based implementation research design. To examine and support implementation of the vision, partners will continue a process of developing instructional frameworks, research and practice briefs, as well as additional resources as needed by stakeholders in the system. Engaging partners at all levels of the system is a central component of developing the shared vision of instruction. This project includes three major research questions. First, what are visions of high-quality mathematics instruction held by educators at different levels of a state educational system? Second, in what ways do educators' visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their use of implementation resources in practice? Finally, in what ways do educators’ visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their participation in the co-design of implementation resources? An activity theory framework is used to understand the interactions between partners at different levels in the system and the creation of artifacts during the design process. The research methods for the study are situated in design-based research to capture the conjectures, instructional resources, design processes, and outcomes of the process. The project will use case studies of partner districts, data gathering from interactions with partners, artifacts of the design process, and other documentation to understand how the vision is created and enacted in different settings and to develop an empirically supported design framework and methodology for implementing STEM innovations at scale that centralizes a shared instructional vision.

Co-Designing for Statewide Alignment of a Vision for High-Quality Mathematics Instruction (Collaborative Research: McCulloch)

This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

Award Number: 
2100947
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/15/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Mathematics teaching and learning is influenced by policy and practice at the state, district, and school levels. To support large-scale change, it is important for high-quality mathematics instruction to be aligned and cohesive across each level of the education system. This can be supported through regional partnerships among state, district, and school-based leaders, mathematics teachers, education researchers, and mathematicians. Such partnerships create instructional tools and resources to document the vision for instruction. For example, teams can work together to create instructional frameworks for each grade band that describe standards, mathematics teaching, and units for teaching. This project will develop a process for creating a shared, state-wide vision of high-quality mathematics instruction. It will also develop and study the resources to implement that vision at the state, district, and school levels. In addition, the project will investigate a collaborative process of designing and implementing high-quality mathematics instruction at a state level.

This project will develop a shared vision of high-quality mathematics instruction intended to improve systemic coherence during the implementation of education innovations. The project uses a research-practice partnership with a design-based implementation research design. To examine and support implementation of the vision, partners will continue a process of developing instructional frameworks, research and practice briefs, as well as additional resources as needed by stakeholders in the system. Engaging partners at all levels of the system is a central component of developing the shared vision of instruction. This project includes three major research questions. First, what are visions of high-quality mathematics instruction held by educators at different levels of a state educational system? Second, in what ways do educators' visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their use of implementation resources in practice? Finally, in what ways do educators’ visions of high-quality mathematics instruction mediate their participation in the co-design of implementation resources? An activity theory framework is used to understand the interactions between partners at different levels in the system and the creation of artifacts during the design process. The research methods for the study are situated in design-based research to capture the conjectures, instructional resources, design processes, and outcomes of the process. The project will use case studies of partner districts, data gathering from interactions with partners, artifacts of the design process, and other documentation to understand how the vision is created and enacted in different settings and to develop an empirically supported design framework and methodology for implementing STEM innovations at scale that centralizes a shared instructional vision.

Building Insights through Observation: Researching Arts-based Methods for Teaching and Learning with Data

This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101310
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Innovations in data collection, infrastructure, and visualization play an important role in modern society. Large, complex datasets are accessible to and shared widely with the public. However, students need to learn how to interpret and reason about visualizations of scientific data. This project will use visualizations from an easily accessible tool from NOAA, Science On a Sphere, to help students develop critical thinking skills and practices required to effectively make meaning from authentic scientific data. The project will use arts-based pedagogies for observing, analyzing, and critiquing visual features of data visualizations to build an understanding of what the data reveal. The project will work with middle school science teachers to develop tools for STEM educators to use these data visualizations effectively. This project focuses on visual thinking skills that have been found to apply in both science and art: describing, wondering, recognizing uncertainty, and interpreting with evidence.

The project will conduct foundational research to understand the ways in which arts-based instructional methods and geospatial data visualization can be successfully applied by science teachers. The research will examine: (1) the ways in which arts-based instructional methods can be successfully applied by STEM teachers; (2) critical elements in the process of learning and applying these techniques to influence teachers’ content, pedagogical, and technological knowledge; and (3) for which transferable data literacy skills these approaches show most promise with children. This project will use a design-based research framework to develop data literacy teaching approaches in partnership with middle school teachers. The research process will include data about teachers’ development and students’ learning about data literacy. Data to be collected include qualitative and quantitative information from teachers and students.

Boosting Data Science Teaching and Learning in STEM

This project addresses a critical need to help middle school teachers learn to incorporate data science in their teaching. It uses an open-source platform called the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) as a tool for teachers to learn about data science and develop resources for students’ learning. The project team will develop a framework for teachers’ knowledge of data science teaching and learning. Insights from the project will help develop effective practices for teaching data science and understanding how students learn data science.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101049
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Data fluency is the ability to navigate the world of data. This includes understanding the sources of data, structuring data for analysis, interpreting representations of data, inferring meaning from data, and explaining data and findings to diverse audiences. Data science is becoming more important as a career opportunity and a mechanism for addressing complex phenomena in STEM disciplines. This project addresses a critical need to help middle school teachers learn to incorporate data science in their teaching. It uses an open-source platform called the Common Online Data Analysis Platform (CODAP) as a tool for teachers to learn about data science and develop resources for students’ learning. We will develop a framework for teachers’ knowledge of data science teaching and learning. Insights from the project will help develop effective practices for teaching data science and understanding how students learn data science.

This project will result in two key products: a framework for teacher data fluency and a set of resources for teacher professional learning in data science, including cases of classroom practice that illustrate teaching and learning progressions in data science and surface common student roadblocks, materials for site-based Professional Learning Communities, and professional learning modules that engage teachers in the kind of data-rich learning called for by science education standards and STEM education more broadly. The project will include two stages. During stage one, the project will use a design-based research approach to develop a model of pedagogical content knowledge for data fluency in middle school. Stage one will answer the following questions: (1a) What do teachers need to know and be able to do to support students in becoming data fluent? (1b) What are common student misconceptions and roadblocks in students’ progress to data fluency? (1c) What are the core components of professional learning that boost teachers’ data fluency and their ability to support students becoming data fluent? During stage two, the project will use a mixed methods approach to study the model’s implementation. Stage two will address the following questions: (2a) What impact does professional learning with the core components identified in stage one have on the opportunities to learn teachers provide to their students and on their students’ data fluency? (2b) Are the professional learning innovations usable and feasible for the end users? (2c) In what ways do teachers’ and students’ classroom interactions reflect the model of pedagogical content knowledge developed in stage one? What evidence supports or refutes the hypothesis about the knowledge and skills teachers need to support students’ movement to data fluency?

Supporting the Implementation of Scientific Modeling Instruction in High School Chemistry and Biology in Rural Schools

High school students in many rural school districts have limited access to advanced STEM coursework and advanced technologies, including high-speed Internet. Rural school districts face difficulties in recruiting and retaining STEM teachers. In many cases, rural STEM teachers need additional training and support. The project will identify these, and other barriers rural teachers face and create professional development for teachers.

Award Number: 
2101590
Funding Period: 
Wed, 09/01/2021 to Sun, 08/31/2025
Full Description: 

High school students in many rural school districts have limited access to advanced STEM coursework and advanced technologies, including high-speed Internet. Rural school districts face difficulties in recruiting and retaining STEM teachers. In many cases, rural STEM teachers need additional training and support. The project will identify these, and other barriers rural teachers face and create professional development for teachers. The training will be designed to increase their discipline specific knowledge and related skills in engaging students in using models to explore, analyze, assess, and improve their thinking about and knowledge of science. Participating teachers will receive 114 hours of formal professional development in the summer and sustained support from follow-up sessions and an innovative virtual mentoring throughout the academic year. The project will revise biology and chemistry curriculum and support 30-90 teachers annually in rural areas in implementing reform-oriented MI instruction benefiting approximately 25,000 rural students. The project will result in a network of leader teachers who can sustain project initiatives. Online STEM professional development courses and digital tools for rural teachers and teachers will be made widely disseminated. In addition, project resources and research findings will be disseminated via conference presentations and peer-reviewed research journals.

Project research is designed to generate knowledge about the development of rural science teachers' pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and the supports needed as rural teachers implement an approach to teaching called Modeling Instruction (MI). PCK refers to knowledge of and how to teach discipline-specific science concepts. MI is a pedagogical approach where students are actively engaged in using conceptual models that are created and applied to concrete physical, biological, and chemical phenomena to promote their understanding of scientific/mathematical principles. Through longitudinal mixed-methods research, the project will add new knowledge about PCK and MI. The project will investigate the progression of teachers’ PCK associated with the high-level implementation of MI that engages students in science research practices. The research of discipline specific PCK will significantly inform the curriculum and design of preservice and in-service science teacher education programs. The project will also research how various aspects of mentoring (e.g., feedback, interactions, discourse, and the modes and quantity of mentoring activities) support teachers in the effective use of PCK in the classroom. Qualitative research tools will include analysis of videos of teacher implementation of lessons, interviews with teachers focusing on the lessons, focus groups and semi-structured interviews on mentoring experiences, and analysis of teacher mentor-teacher mentee sessions and activity. The Science Instruction Practices Survey will collect quantitative data that will be used to understand each teacher’s implementation of MI, looking at the science practices that teachers in the classroom such as investigation, data collection and analysis, explanation, modeling, and science communication.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Marco-Bujosa)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101144
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Johnson)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101287
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

Understanding STEM Teaching through Integrated Contexts in Everyday Life (Collaborative Research: Richardson)

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in STEM instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner.

Lead Organization(s): 
Award Number: 
2101324
Funding Period: 
Thu, 07/01/2021 to Mon, 06/30/2025
Full Description: 

Increased focus on school accountability and teacher performance measures have resulted in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) instruction that emphasizes content and procedural knowledge over critical thinking and real-world applications. Yet, critical thinking and application are essential in developing functional scientific literacy skills among students. This need is perhaps most pressing in economically depressed urban settings. One strategy to promote STEM engagement and learning is to make clear and meaningful connections between STEM concepts, principles, and STEM-related issues relevant to the learner. Socioscientific issues (SSI) can provide a powerful avenue for promoting the desired kinds of engagement. SSI are debatable and ill-defined problems that have a basis in science but necessarily include moral and ethical choices. SSI for economically disadvantaged, culturally diverse students in urban settings might include, for example, lead paint contamination, poor water or air quality, or the existence of “food deserts.” By integrating locally relevant SSI with the goals of social justice, the Social Justice STEM Pedagogies (SJSP) framework the project uses is intended to support students to use their scientific expertise to be agents of change. SJSP can be potentially transformative for teachers, students, schools, and the communities in which students live. For SJSP to effectively promote STEM learning, however, teachers must learn how to integrate STEM-concepts and practices into the various real-world SSI present in their students’ environment. This collaborative project is designed to implement and evaluate a comprehensive professional development plan for grades 7 –12 STEM teachers from economically disadvantaged school districts in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. Teachers will develop ways to incorporate SSI into their instruction that are grounded in standards to foster students’ STEM engagement. The instructional practices enacted by teachers will enhance students’ STEM literacy while utilizing their own knowledge and culture in solving complex and ethically challenging STEM issues, thus promoting students’ abilities to be change agents.

This collaborative research project involves Arcadia University, Mercyhurst University, LaSalle University, Villanova University, and St. Joseph’s University. It is designed to investigate the effectiveness of a professional development (PD) program for STEM teachers to develop their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in teaching SSI and SJSP. Over four years, three cohorts of 25 grades 7-12 teachers will participate in about 200 hours of PD. The SSI and SJSP encompass authentic, complex real-world, STEM-based issues that are directly related to the inequities experienced by students and their communities that students can engage with in the classroom through the use of inquiry-based learning strategies. By promoting students’ engagement in and awareness of the relevance of STEM in everyday life, teacher participants in this PD will foster STEM learning, especially among students who have been historically marginalized from STEM disciplines, and who are from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The research plan is designed to reveal elements of the PD program that are most effective in supporting teachers’ increased capacity to design and implement units of study that incorporate scientific, social, and discursive elements of SSI. Using predominantly qualitative methods, other outcomes include how teachers’ PCK change towards teaching with SSI/SJSP; what factors support and inhibit teacher’s abilities to promote SSI/SJSP; and how justice-centered STEM lessons help students to develop moral and ethical reasoning, scientific skepticism, STEM inquiry/modeling, and SSI discourse/argumentation.

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