Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science

8 Teacher Learning

Much of what constitutes the typical approaches to formal teacher professional development are antithetical to what research findings indicate as promoting effective learning. The typical workshops tend to occur once, deal with decontextualized information, and often do not resonate with teachers’ perceived needs. By contrast, research evidence indicates that the most successful teacher professional development activities are those that are extended over time and encourage the development of teachers’ learning communities. These kinds of activities have been accomplished by creating opportunities for shared experiences and discourse around shared texts and data about student learning, and focus on shared decisionmaking. The learning communities of teachers also allow for differing kinds of background training and for variations in their readiness to learn. Successful programs involve teachers in learning activities that are similar to ones that they will use with their students. (204)  

Successful learning for teachers requires a continuum of coordinated efforts that range from preservice education to early teaching to opportunities for lifelong development as professionals. (205)