Advisor

Dannelle Stevens

Date of Award

6-13-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction

Department

Educational Leadership

Physical Description

1 online resource (ix, 139 pages)

DOI

10.15760/etd.3415

Abstract

In the last twenty years in US science education, professional development has emphasized the need to change science instruction from a direct instruction model to a more participatory and constructivist learning model. The result of these reform efforts has seen an increase in science education professional development that is focused on providing teaching strategies that promote inquiry learning to learn science content. Given these reform efforts and teacher responses to professional development, research seems to indicate that whether teachers actually change their practice may depend on the teachers' basic epistemological beliefs about the nature of science. The person who builds the bridge between teacher beliefs and teacher practice is the designer and facilitator of science teacher professional development. Even though these designers and facilitators of professional development are critical to science teacher change, few have studied how these professionals approach their work and what influence their beliefs have on their professional development activities. Eight developers and designers of science education professional development participated in this study through interviews and the completion of an online questionnaire. To examine the relationship between professional development providers' science beliefs and their design, development, and implementation of professional development experiences for science teachers, this study used the Views on Science Education Questionnaire (VOSE), and interview transcripts as well as analysis of the documents from teacher professional development experiences.

Through a basic interpretive qualitative analysis, the predominant themes that emerged from this study suggest that the nature of science is often equated with the practice of science, personal beliefs about the nature of science have a minimal impact on the design of professional development experiences, current reform efforts in science education have a strong influence on the design of professional development, and those providing science education professional development have diverse views about epistemology and the nature of science. The results and conclusions from this study lead to a discussion of implications and recommendations for the planning and design of professional development for science teachers, including the need to making equity and social justice issues an integral part of inquiry and scientific practice.

Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/20631

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