A Longitudinal Study of Science Teacher Preparation. Charles W. (Andy) Anderson, Gail Richmond, Ajay Sharma, Shinho Jang, Kelly Grindstaff, In-Young Cho Michigan State University. Acknowledgement of Support.
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Gail Richmond & Charles (Andy) Anderson
Relearning science content/Developing goals for student understanding
Helping students make sense out of the world by engaging them in application (making sense of patterns in experience) and inquiry (using scientific models and theories to solve practical problems or understand the material world)
Objectives were focused on application/inquiry and how students could demonstrate their understanding (e.g., Students will explain how the cell cycle helps living things maintain a stable internal environment; Students will evaluate claims regarding potential agents that lead to mutations in the DNA that may lead to cancer)
…it is very easy to teach science as discrete units of information and this is a dangerous way to teach. In order to truly learn and love science the students must see how it all works in concert and be able to connect one idea to the next. Even if a lesson is well planned and potentially great it must lie in the correct sequence with the other lessons for the students to get the most out of it. (TE 401 Lesson 1 Paper)
After teaching this topic I have come to better understanding of how this topic fits into the bigger picture. …I realized that the students needed to connect cancer to replication, translation, transcription, the cell cycle, and homeostasis. I was approaching this topic (cancer) with blinders on. I wanted the students to understand cancer, but what I never really realized was that this topic was an example or platform, in which to connect the topics mentioned above all together. (TE 402 Lesson paper)
It understanding of how this topic fits into the bigger picture. ’s more than facts. To learn any unit in science really should go through the whole: What’s the question? What are we seeing? What do we think? What’s our proof? Like that. And I think it should be infused in every lesson….(Interview, 21-April-02)
Objectives had fact- or list-generating orientation (e.g., List the factors that affect climate; Name the inner & outer planets) or were not directed at what students can do (e.g., Understand how we measure earthquakes; Understand how you can be safe during an earthquake and what you can do)
My assessment task for this lesson was a worksheet that had vocabulary and section questions. As I went through my lesson I was able to ask questions about ideas from the lesson and see if the students understood them and when I thought they did I would tell them to look at the worksheet and fill it in so that as they went along they would be able to follow what was happening and so they could go back and refer to past information if I asked them a question. (TE 402 Lesson 2 Paper)
The handouts I usually go over with them, so that they understand what they got wrong and what is right, ‘cause I do not like them to leave their classroom and know that granite forms from gneiss rocks, marble forms limestone. If they screw that up, I like them to know before they leave the classroom. …. They had to define what is sedimentary rock. The good definition is important for them. And another one was the classification of sedimentary rocks. That in the book gives secondary headings or sub-secondary headings….(Interview , 12 April)
Objectives were vague & not focused on concrete ways students could demonstrate understanding (e.g., Relate motion of objects to unbalanced forces in two dimensions), although ability to construct appropriate objectives improved over time.
So for the most part this 3-day lesson was good. The activities were fun and kept the kids entertained while learning….I liked the activity that I did with the scientists and their views of the solar system. This got them thinking of the different views and how they looked and it allowed them a little fun time with cut, paste, and color. I also liked the activity where they drew the planets, colored them the way that they actually looked, and found facts on each planet. (TE 402, Three-Day Lesson Paper)
I had a hard time, at the beginning, to think what I already know. Like what experiences they brought in, coming up with examples, real world examples..…I was having a real tough time with that. Patterns were (a) big thing in my planning. Cause I wanted them to see those. The whole inner and outer and you know. What the atmospheres, they are different and similar to earth. So that was as big thing. And then explaining why that happened. That was really what I want them to say—why? (Interview, 19 April 02)
Understanding students & assessing their learning
Although Stan’s first 3 responses are lacking this connection, his last three begin to demonstrate this pattern in his thinking. For example he states that the function of a nerve cell “is to carry messages to the brain” and that for its shape “it connects to other cells.” I (am) assuming that he understand(s) that nerve cells connect to other cells to pass this message along. Again his example of function doesn’t match exactly to the shape, but at least the main idea of sending a message is present in both examples… He seemed to finally make the connection on this last example and this might be due to his prior knowledge. He wrote that its function is to “destroy antigens” and it helps it “identify the antigen.” Although I can assume that he (is) referring to antibodies on the outside of the picture of the cell he never really says that, so I’m not entirely sure he grasped the pattern. I think that he is close to making the connection, but he needs more coaching and fading. (TE 401 Lesson report)
I don’t like pre-assessment. I think pre-assessment is a pain. When you give them (a) pre-assessment, they can’t write anything because they did not learn it yet. (Interview, 12 April 2002)
The answers that they gave me to the same questions when I asked them were not the same ones on the assessment. It is like in the few minutes before they got the handout they forgot everything. Most of the answer were not to (sic) completely wrong they just seemed to get confused with the question or mixed up the names of the scientists….I believe they learned but I just think that they have just confused a few things. (TE 401 Lesson 2 Paper)
During class she gave correct answers to questions that I posed to the class, and she seemed to really understand it…she even said she got it, which she never does. When I handed out the quick-write she was right up at the desk asking me if what she was thinking was right….(Rob) is a very quiet boy and doesn’t really get involved in class. I need to try to get him more involved. I forget about the students that don’t raise their hands…..Kelli’s response was the best out of the three of them….She was the one that was paying attention during the lesson and gave answers to questions that were asked. Kelli seems to try pretty hard when doing her work. She doesn’t always do real well, but she seems to give all of herself to her work. (TE401 Lesson 2 Paper)
Shinho Jang, Gail Richmond, and Charles W. Anderson
Amy: I found that many of the students have negative associations with science, or really don’t know much about it. I have worked hard to prepare a lesson that is both fun and engaging (Journal, 05/26/2002).
Steve: I want to make sure that I’m not just playing games or doing fun experiments without getting the points across that they’re trying to discover through the experiments like the laws or whatever… (Interview, 07/19/2002).
I believe that science can almost teach itself to students as long as it is set up properly for the students to discover and explore. That is how I learn best and how a lot of children learn best. … The role of the teacher is to set up situations where students can learn best and then get out of the way (Autobiography, 05/23/2002).
What I’m trying to do in the classroom is to transfer knowledge, and transfer true knowledge, that’s the ideal (Interview, 07/19/2002).
This (lesson) will be accomplished through student involvement with a hands-on activity in which they pretend they are black bears in a forest gathering food (Lesson plan, 06/10/02).
When given a range of different liquids students will be able to calculate, compare, and describe the viscosities of the liquids based on their use of a viscometer (Lesson Plan, 06/10/2002).
I think its imperative that I can keep the kids interested, because if they’re just following my instructions and they’re not learning anything and, its really not any fun for them. The kids are going to pull a lot more out of it if the kids are excited and interested in what you are talking about (Interview, 06/20/2002).
I just wanted to see if they actually knew the things that were actually taught them. For that one we had the blanks of the life cycle, and they filled in the blanks… I think that they were able to distinguish between physical traits of the animals. I mean they could tell what was related, they knew that in the life cycle stage, they both started out as eggs (Interview, 07/19/2002).
I would ask them those questions about why they chose to do this and just talk to me a little bit about your black bear, to see if they understood (Interview, 06/21/2002).
Remember last week in our density-measuring device we had corn syrup, water, and oil. This means a liquid, which is more viscous than another one doesn’t always have a higher density, too. Which two liquids from our experiment last week are an example of this? Why? (Laboratory Worksheet, 06/10/2002)
–Steve and Leigh: similar to the more and less successful secondary candidates
: Textbook knowledge or Model-based reasoning
– Ken and Amy: different from secondary candidates
: Science appreciation & Activity oriented practice
Ken – having very limited fact-oriented view of scientific knowledge, leading him to reject facts as worthwhile goal
Amy – having naturalist’s view, emphasis on experience with nature, but with clearer goals and ideas about student development
– the different levels of scientific knowledge
– ways of thinking about science that the candidates brought with them to the program.
Kelly Grindstaff, In-Young Cho, and Charles W. Anderson
I strongly believe that all students can learn science. Therefore, I must find a way to teach it in a way that incorporates this belief. I plan to accomplish it by guiding students through the process needed to develop a sound conceptual understanding of science. This process begins with activating the students’ existing knowledge to link new knowledge to what they already know and understand well.
As a student and teacher, I have discovered the tremendous value education has in a person’s life. My goal is to identify the students who have overlooked the importance of learning and give them access to all the opportunities education offers. If I can do this for just a handful of students, my teaching career will be a complete success.
Constructing conceptual understanding through scientific inquiry, incorporating students’ prior knowledge and life experiences
- My teaching of science will incorporate application of scientific knowledge to practical life experiences and employ the significance of science inquiry…Altogether, these will make learning science exciting and interesting, and more importantly understandable.
Make students become successful citizens in the future by providing students with useful tools of correct understanding of procedures and mathematical relationships
- In some circumstances, the best explanation may occur once the foundation is established, which may take more than one lesson. On the other hand, offering a rudimentary explanation will assist the students in remembering a set of patterns.
- provoke students’ interest in classroom activities
- careful analysis of students’ reasoning skills and understanding
- participate fun and plausible scientific inquiry process
- help students to accomplish their academic potential
- provide students with key problem-solving skills
- transfer of knowledge in a procedural form
- Physical chemist father
- High academic achievement
- Science research experience
- Great interest in science
- Teaching chemistry in suburban high school
- A manager of R& D technology in chemical engineering company
- High academic achievement
- Strong self-confidence in science content knowledge and teaching strategy
- Positive attitude about science teaching
- Teaching chemistry in suburban high school
The likelihood that an individual will expend effort on a task is proportional to the product of two factors:
Practices a newcomer can carry out only with the support of more knowledgeable individuals
(e.g., Vygotsky, Lave; Wenger)
Those practices that appear within an individual’s ZPD are those that she may not be able to successfully carry out independently, but they are practices she both values highly and has a high expectancy of success with support from us or others
We try to convince candidates of the importance of our values by
--designing assignments consonant with our values
--assigning grades for successful completion of these assignments
We help increase expectancy for success by providing scaffolded opportunities to learn more about:
--the learning process
--their content understanding
--the students they teach
Our goals may not have been reached because we may not have sufficiently understood our candidates’ ZPDs
--For candidates who hold values consistent with our own, no problems arise (practices are within their ZPDs)
--For other candidates, problems arise because the practices are outside their ZPDs. They may reinterpret our assignments to focus on practices that they valued more highly or for which they had a greater expectancy of success
What we hope to do:
--modify our expectations of the candidates
--try to modify their values and expectancies of success
--create assignments that more consistently engage them in the practices that are within their ZPDs
--help candidate develop more sophisticated teaching practices