Scientist-Teacher Partnerships as Professional Development: An Action Research Study

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SUBMITTED AS A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION IN COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF ED.D THROUGH WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY. The overall purpose of this action research study was to explore the experiences of ten middle school science teachers involved in a three-year partnership program between scientists and teachers at a Department of Energy national laboratory, including the impact of the program on their professional development, and to improve the partnership program by developing a set of recommendations based on the study’s findings. This action research study relied on qualitative data including field notes recorded at the summer academies and data from ... continued below

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Willcuts, Meredith H. April 17, 2009.

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SUBMITTED AS A DOCTORAL DISSERTATION IN COMPLETION OF REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF ED.D THROUGH WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY. The overall purpose of this action research study was to explore the experiences of ten middle school science teachers involved in a three-year partnership program between scientists and teachers at a Department of Energy national laboratory, including the impact of the program on their professional development, and to improve the partnership program by developing a set of recommendations based on the study’s findings. This action research study relied on qualitative data including field notes recorded at the summer academies and data from two focus groups with teachers and scientists. Additionally, the participating teachers submitted written reflections in science notebooks, participated in open-ended telephone interviews that were transcribed verbatim, and wrote journal summaries to the Department of Energy at the end of the summer academy. The analysis of the data, collaboratively examined by the teachers, the scientists, and the science education specialist acting as co-researchers on the project, revealed five elements critical to the success of the professional development of science teachers. First, scientist-teacher partnerships are a unique contribution to the professional development of teachers of science that is not replicated in other forms of teacher training. Second, the role of the science education specialist as a bridge between the scientists and teachers is a unique and vital one, impacting all aspects of the professional development. Third, there is a paradox for classroom teachers as they view the professional development experience from two different lenses – that of learner and that of teacher. Fourth, learning for science teachers must be designed to be constructivist in nature. Fifth, the principles of the nature of science must be explicitly showcased to be seen and understood by the classroom teacher.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-18305
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 974989
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc927409

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • April 17, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 1, 2016, 6:50 p.m.

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Willcuts, Meredith H. Scientist-Teacher Partnerships as Professional Development: An Action Research Study, thesis or dissertation, April 17, 2009; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc927409/: accessed August 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.