Supporting Professional Learning for Urban Teachers In Developing Inclusive Three-dimensional Science Classrooms

Authors: 

Angela Kolonich, Gail Richmond, and Joseph Krajcik

The National Research Committee’s Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) contain an important vision for K-12 science education: Science for all Students. This provides exciting opportunities, and presents some challenges for educators. To effectively develop inclusive, three-dimensional science classrooms, teachers must orient their teaching away from traditional, lecture based methods and toward three-dimensional teaching that provides all students equal access to science learning. Teachers will require targeted, sustained support while implementing three-dimensional instruction, and time to adapt their instruction in ways that best benefit their students. Questions that remain are what aspects of professional learning do different teachers take-up, and how do they put their learning into practice to meet their student’s needs?
Our study is grounded in these questions and began with developing a research based, year long, professional learning program focused on inclusive, three-dimensional instruction. Five teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District participated in this program while implementing a three-dimensional physical science curriculum in their classrooms, and three teachers were selected for case study analysis. Data collection included video-recorded classroom observations and professional learning sessions, audio-recorded teacher interviews, and field notes. Data analysis indicated teachers made changes in their instruction consistent with program goals, and each teacher interacted with the professional learning program in unique ways. This paper describes aspects of professional learning taken-up by teachers, and different ways teachers implemented learning with their students. Implications and recommendations for future work are also discussed.

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