Public Discussion

  • Icon for: Joni Falk

    Joni Falk

    Co-Director of CSR at TERC
    May 11, 2015 | 12:32 p.m.

    Really enjoyed this very clear, crisp video. Your findings seem to suggest that students of teachers that participated in the practicum show greater gains. Given that, what changes would you make to the program in the final year? Is there any way to scale this program, with providing online support to teachers doing the practicum?

  • Icon for: Emily Weiss

    Emily Weiss

    Presenter
    May 11, 2015 | 01:54 p.m.

    Thanks, Joni. The final summer program will actually run this summer, with final academic year follow-up sessions in the 2015-2016 school year. We’ll be running the Practicum this summer because our initial findings suggest it is more effective. Most of the changes we’ll be making to the summer program will involve incorporating things we had waited to share until during the follow-up days. It turns out the teachers could have used some of the input a little sooner. Those nuances aren’t really captured in the video. We are beginning to think about scaling the program. It’s rather expensive to include a practicum, so we are looking at online methods for making some of the program work. We won’t have time to make those modifications during this project, though. We’ll have to apply for a next round of funding to make changes that extensive. I’d love to talk with you about any ideas you have for conducting parts of the practicum online.

  • Icon for: Craig Strang

    Craig Strang

    Co-Presenter
    May 12, 2015 | 12:36 a.m.

    Emily and I are Co-PIs of this project. I just want to add a comment about scaling our effort. Emily is correct, that running this intensive practicum is expensive, but we are convinced that it is a vastly more effective and efficient way for a district to spend their PD dollars, than say, providing traditional PD without a practicum. The cost per teacher is higher, but the “return on investment” is also considerably higher. Not only are our teachers improving their own teaching practice, but several have left the project because they have been offered positions by the district as coaches, specialists, assistant principals, etc.

  • Icon for: Avron Barr

    Avron Barr

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 02:03 a.m.

    Do some teachers find this kind of teaching very difficult to master? Why? Are schools of education prepared to offer this kind training to teachers-to-be?

  • Icon for: Elizabeth Hassrick

    Elizabeth Hassrick

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 09:44 a.m.

    It is confirming to see that this kind of thought, robust teacher mentorship and support, through multiple mechanisms, over time, will not allow students to “change their mind” and re-think misconceptions, BUT will also allow teachers to learn how to do their job better- and change their mind about what each of their students might need to fully engage in critical thinking and argumentation. As Avron mentioned above, what is needed in Schools of Education, to sustainably support this kind of teacher learning? And what is needed at the school level, to ensure that such teaching practices are maintained?

  • Icon for: Craig Strang

    Craig Strang

    Co-Presenter
    May 13, 2015 | 09:58 a.m.

    We have found that many teachers do find this type of teaching to be challenging. In the NCLB era, teachers were “trained” to focus on delivering content to students, and help students with memorization and recall. Research on learning, Common Core and NGSS are now focusing teachers on helping students to explore, compare, discuss and critique their own thinking and the thinking of their peers in order to arrive at the best possible explanations. Faculty in schools of education, professional developers, principals, BTSA coordinators, etc., also need to adjust our own instructional approaches as we train, induct, support and work with teachers. So, yes, this is a systemic issue, and the solutions need to be put in place throughout all parts of the system.

  • Icon for: Lisa Hogan

    Lisa Hogan

    Facilitator
    May 13, 2015 | 08:17 p.m.

    This innovative model for science professional development for elementary teachers is very exciting. During the NCLB era many schools drifted away from teaching science in the elementary school to spend more time and effort on reading, writing, and mathematics instruction. I would be interested in hearing about some of the challenges teachers find with this type of teaching.

  • Icon for: Emily Weiss

    Emily Weiss

    Presenter
    May 15, 2015 | 05:28 p.m.

    Hi, Lisa. Teachers have struggled in a number of areas. Some issues are specifically related to their not having taught much (or any) science for a number of years, such as a weak understanding of how science works and science content. These areas of weak understanding can make it challenging for teachers to select appropriate opportunities to engage students in argumentation (e.g., spending far too much time on accessing prior knowledge; not using argumentation to support meaning-making) as well as being able to move a discussion in a productive direction (e.g., not picking up on alternative conceptions or misunderstandings or not recognizing partially accurate conceptions and/or relevant evidence). Also, because, as Craig alluded to in his last comment, teachers are used to teaching for memory and recall, having open-ended discussions is somewhat challenging. Teachers might swing so far into the realm of student-centered discussions that they remove themselves from the discussion entirely, not even acting as a facilitator. This often keeps student understanding from moving forward. Alternatively, some teachers feel very uncomfortable giving students any control over the discussion and worry considerably about misconceptions being shared with other students. It’s been very interesting and exciting to work through these challenges with teachers.

  • Further posting is closed as the showcase has ended.

  1. Emily Weiss
  2. PRACTISE (Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education)
  3. http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/partnerships/current/practise
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  1. Hilda Borko
  2. PRACTISE (Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education)
  3. http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/partnerships/current/practise
  4. Stanford Graduate School Education
  1. Bernadette Chi
  2. PRACTISE (Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education)
  3. http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/partnerships/current/practise
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  1. Jonathan Osborne
  2. PRACTISE (Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education)
  3. http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/partnerships/current/practise
  4. Stanford Graduate School Education
  1. Craig Strang
  2. PRACTISE (Practicum Academy to Improve Science Education)
  3. http://mare.lawrencehallofscience.org/partnerships/current/practise
  4. University of California, Berkeley

PRACTISE: practicum-based professional development
NSF Award #: 1223021

The Lawrence Hall of Science at the University of California, Berkeley and Graduate School of Education at Stanford University are designing, implementing, studying and documenting the efficacy of an innovative model for science professional development for elementary teachers. The Academy model consists of three components—a Summer Institute, a Summer Teaching Practicum, and academic year Follow-up sessions. The intensive, week-long summer Institute helps teachers learn to facilitate scientific discourse and, specifically, argumentation from evidence. Following the Institute, teachers spend two weeks in a teaching Practicum. In trios they teach science, including opportunities for argumentation, for two hours each morning in a summer school program, during which they are videotaped. Practicum teachers are immediately able to: practice new instructional strategies in a highly supported and “low stakes” environment; analyze videos of their own teaching; reflect on their practice and receive feedback from colleagues and coaches; then adapt their instructional practices for the following day. The third component of the Academy is a series of Follow-up sessions during the academic year, designed to provide guidance and support for teachers as they incorporate the new instructional practices into their ongoing classroom instruction. To test the efficacy of the practicum-based Academy model, the Hall team delivered two versions of the program—the full Academy and the Academy minus the Practicum. Over a 3-year period, we are comparing the practices of teachers and learning outcomes of their students who experienced the two versions.