Changing the way teaching occurs in an American middle schoolGordon J. Aubrecht, II“Training Physics Teachers and Educational Networks” ICPE 2011 presentation T208, 18 August 2011Supported in part by grants from the Ohio Department of Education 60018325 (2008-2009), 60021887 (2009-2010), 60028273 (2010-2011), and 60032359 (2011-2012).
Abstract:IMPACT2 is a program at Marion Ohio's Grant Middle School, the sole middle school in the school district, that involves almost every science teacher. called IMPACT stands for Inquiry Model for Professional Action and Content-rich Teaching. Some achievements of the three years of the grant-supported program will be given. In the third year of the grant, the program was spread to Harding High School. Some information on the changes middle school teachers have made will be discussed. Because of these changes, high school teachers became involved.
Time committed to the project the first year (each teacher spent about 232 hours of time in the project). We, the instructors, spent considerably more time. The summer portion was two weeks.
We were renewed for a second year, with reduced funding.This meant reduced time for me in Grant Middle School, where we worked with almost all the science teachers.Also, we, the instructors, were seen as “owners” the first year. We wanted to give the teachers ownership for themselves. We did this by asking them to arrange two “professional development days” every quarter.To illustrate the possibilities for the teachers, we ran the second-year summer teacher workshop mostly on South Bass Island.
Time committed to the project the second year (each teacher spent much fewer hours of time in the project this year). We, the instructors, as before, spent considerably more time than the students on the project.
Time committed to the project the third year (each teacher spent less time in the project this year). We, the instructors, as before, spent considerably more time than the students on the project, but only my hours were tabulated during the school year. Schmitt did high school observations, estimated at 320 h.
IMPACT2 goals for the fourth year:Do summer hands-on activities with volunteer teachers (two weeks)Meet with HS teachers ~ 8 times during the school year; MS ~ 6 times Observe teachers’ classes (both middle and high school)Persuade middle school teachers to make a “presentation to teachers in another school district” about how they can implement elements of inquiry in their school or other presentation
As you can see, both Aubrecht and Schmitt have spent probably two thousand hours each working on the project over its lifetime. MS teachers who participated in the summer program in 2009 (five of the 14) have accumulated about 360 hours of intervention. Those who did not accumulated about 260 hours of intervention.HS teachers will have had ~ 200 hours by the end of this summer.
Research has shown that it requires at least 120 hours of intervention to make a permanent change. Anecdotal evidence says that the initiative needs to last at least a few years to be sustainable.We are supplying both those conditions.
Here is a snippet of film from a professional development trip. Middle school topics include Earth science and life science.
The project has made a difference for middle school teachers and students. That led to pressure to change high school science instruction. There has been more resistance to change at the high-school level. One teacher has blown us off despite school administration pressure. Another, who already “knows everything,” left the district for this coming year. These teachers still retain most of their prior characteristics.IMPACT2 results:a mixed bag, but still holds great promise