Despite decades of research regarding best practices for the teaching and learning of chemistry, as well as two sets of national reform documents for science education, classroom instruction in high school chemistry classrooms remains largely unchanged. One key reason for this continued gap between research and practice is a reliance on traditional, prescriptive professional development (PD) in place of PD that focuses on changing teachers’ ideas and beliefs. The former view treats teachers as technicians, workers who are supposed to follow a manual to produce student results. The latter view holds that teachers are professionals and develop good practice over time through professional reflection and interaction with other professionals. Bridging research to practice requires moving away from the standard short-term dissemination model of PD and toward a more coherent, long-term PD model in which teachers collaborate with educational researchers to transform instruction. The recent release of the Next Generation Science Standards encourages rethinking how we approach teacher PD to support transformation of science education. This paper outlines some key considerations for developing productive teacher collaborations and provides examples of teacher PD programs that have successfully brought chemistry education research faculty and high school chemistry teachers together to build knowledge and transform teaching.
Herrington, D. & Daubenmire, P. (2016). No teacher is an island: Bridging the gap between teacher’s professional practice and research findings. Journal of Chemical Education, 98(3), 1371-1376. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jchemed.5b00700