Professional development as an ongoing conversation

2008-02-15T10:14:20Z (GMT) by Malcolm Welch Andréa Mueller
While professional development (PD) for teachers exists in many forms, no particular one emerges as the best way to facilitate change in classroom practices. Evidence from the Elementary Science and Technology (EST) project suggests that a variety of PD is essential. Also emerging is the importance of developing and sustaining school-university partnerships and professional communities of practice. This paper describes the results from steps 1-4 of a six-step program of research in which two faculty instructors taught Grade 6 students a science or technology unit while six teachers worked alongside the students to complete the same unit. Data collection for each step included two written questionnaires, a focus group interview, and teacher field notes written during the professional development. The results of the study are being used to address the following research questions: (a) to what extent does in-service given in a classroom context help teachers acquire a pedagogy for elementary technology or elementary science? (b) to what extent does in-service given in a classroom context help teachers acquire subject knowledge in elementary technology or elementary science?