Fostering a community of practice through a professional development program to improve elementary teachers' views of nature of science and teaching practice
Curriculum & Instruction
This study explored the development of a community of learners through a professional development program to improve teachers' views of nature of science (NOS) and teaching practice. The Views of Nature of Science questionnaire and interviews were used to assess teachers' conceptions of NOS three times over the course of the study. Notes and videotapes taken during workshops and classroom observations were used to track influence of the community of learners on classroom practice. The community of practice (CoP) was fostered through an intensive summer workshop, monthly school site workshops, and classroom support to aid teachers in incorporating new techniques and reflecting upon their learning and practice. We found that teachers became aware of their changes in views about NOS once they struggled with the concepts in their own teaching and discussed their struggles within the professional development community. The CoP on its own was not sufficient to change teacher's practice or knowledge, but it created a well-supported environment that facilitated teacher change when paired with NOS modeling and explicit reflection. Cases of three teachers are used to illustrate changes in views and teaching practice common to the teachers in this study. © 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching
Akerson, V. L., Cullen, T. A., & Hanson, D. L. (2009). Fostering a community of practice through a professional development program to improve elementary teachers' views of nature of science and teaching practice. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 46(10), 1090–1113. https://doi.org/10.1002/tea.20303