Exploring a Model of Situated Professional Development: Impact on Classroom Practice

Journal of Science Teacher Education 04/2011; 22(3):203-227. DOI: 10.1007/s10972-011-9229-0

ABSTRACT A hallmark of current science education reform involves teaching through inquiry. However, the widespread use of inquiry-based
instruction in many classrooms has not occurred (Roehrig and Luft in Int J Sci Educ 26:3–24, 2004; Schneider et al. in J Res Sci Teach 42:283–312, 2005). The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of a professional development program on middle school science
teachers’ ability to enact inquiry-based pedagogical practices. Data were generated through evaluation of teacher practice
using the Reformed Teaching Observation Protocol (RTOP) (Sawada et al. in School Sci Math 102:245–253, 2002) at three distinct junctures, before, during, and after the professional development treatment. Analysis of teacher-participant
post-institute reflections was then utilized to determine the perceived role of the various institute components. Statistical
significant changes in RTOP scores indicated that the teachers were able to successfully transfer the enactment of the inquiry-based
practices into their classrooms. The subsequent discussion provides connection between these pedagogical changes with use
of professional development strategies that provide a situated learning environment.

KeywordsProfessional development–Middle school–Inquiry–Controlled practice

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