Journal of Elementary Science Education

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 53–70 | Cite as

The impact of a professional development program integrating informal science education on early childhood teachers’ self-efficacy and beliefs about inquiry-based science teaching

  • Emilio Duran
  • Lena Ballone-Duran
  • Jodi Haney
  • Svetlana Beltyukova


This report aimed to measure the impact of a unique professional development program entitled Project ASTER III (Active Science Teaching Encourages Reform) on teachers’ self-efficacy and perceptions about inquiry-based science teaching. Project ASTER III enabled teachers to explore inquiry-based science teaching through exhibit-based hands-on/ minds-on investigations at a science museum and to develop a science curriculum aligned with museum exhibits and state and national science education standards. Quantitative data indicated that teacher beliefs were positively and significantly impacted by the professional development program and confirmed that programs like ASTER III are effective but need to be provided on a continuous basis to reinforce these beliefs in the teachers. Finally, three themes emerged from the analysis of the qualitative data from the participant journals: (1) impact on teacher understanding of inquiry, (2) increased confidence about science teaching, and (3) benefits of collaboration.


Science Teaching Science Teacher Professional Development Program Perceived Behavioral Control Efficacy Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ajzen, I. (1985). From intentions to actions: A theory of planned behavior. In J. Kuhl & J. Beckman (Eds.),Action control: From cognition to behavior (pp. 11–39). New York: Springer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1981). Self-referent thought: A developmental analysis of self-efficacy. In J. H. Flavell & L. Ross (Eds.),Social cognitive development: Frontiers and possible futures (pp. 200–239). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (1997).Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Feeman.Google Scholar
  4. Brickhouse, N. (1994). Bringing in the outsides: Reshaping the sciences of the future.Journal of Curriculum Studies, 26(4), 401–416.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bybee, R. (1997).Achieving scientific literacy: From purposes to practices. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  6. Czerniak, C. M., & Chiarelott, L. (1990). Teacher education for effective science instruction—A social cognitive perspective.Journal of Teacher Education, 41(1), 49–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Czerniak, C. M., & Shriver, M. (1994). An examination of pre-service science teachers’ beliefs and behaviors as related to self-efficacy.Journal of Science Teacher Education, 5, 77–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Duran, E., & Ballone-Duran, L. (2005). Project ASTER: A model staff development program and its impact on early childhood teachers’ self-efficacy.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 17(2), 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Enochs, L. G., Posnanski, T., Riggs, I. M., & Shroyer, M. G. (1997, January).A review of science teaching efficacy research. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Teachers of Science, Cincinnati, OH.Google Scholar
  10. Falk, J., & Dierking, L. (1997). School field trips: Assessing their long-term impact.Curator, 40, 211–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Griffin, J., & Symington, D. (1997). Moving from task-oriented to learning-oriented strategies on school excursions to museums.Science Education, 81, 793–799.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Kisiel, J. (2006). Making field trips work: Strategies for creating an effective learning experience.The Science Teacher, 72(10), 46–48.Google Scholar
  13. Levitt, K. E. (2001). An analysis of elementary teachers’ beliefs regarding the teaching and learning of science.Science Education, 86, 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lumpe, A. T., Czerniak, C. M., Haney, J. J., & Beltyukova, S. (2004).Teacher beliefs: Impact of professional development and influence on student achievement. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Teachers of Science, Nashville, TN.Google Scholar
  15. Lumpe, A. T., Haney, J. J., & Czerniak, C. M. (2000). Assessing teachers’ beliefs about their science teaching context.Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(3), 275–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. McComas, W. F. (2006). Science teaching beyond the classroom: The role and nature of informal learning environments.The Science Teacher, 72(10), 26–30.Google Scholar
  17. Morrell, P. D. (2003). Cognitive impact of a grade school field trip.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 15(1), 27–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Moseley, C., Reinke, K., & Bookout, V. (2003). The effect of teaching outdoor environmental education on preservice teachers’ self-efficacy.Journal of Elementary Science Education, 15(1), 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. National Research Council (NRC). (1996).National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  20. National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). (1999).NSTA position statement on informal science education. Retrieved September 29, 2009, from positionstatement&psid=13.Google Scholar
  21. Plourde, L. A. (2002). The influence of student teaching on pre-service elementary teachers’ science self-efficacy and outcome expectancy beliefs.Journal of Instructional Psychology, 29(4), 245–253.Google Scholar
  22. Price, S., & Hein, G. E. (1991). More than a field trip: Science programmes for elementary school groups at museums.International Journal of Science Education, 13(5), 505–519.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ramey-Gassert, L., Shroyer, G. M., & Staver, J. (1996). A qualitative study of factors influencing science teaching self-efficacy of elementary level teachers.Science Education, 80(3), 283–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ramey-Gassert, L., Walberg III, H. J., & Walberg, H. J. (1994). Reexamining connections: Museums as science learning environments.Science Education, 78, 345–363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rasch, G. (1960).Probabilistic models for some intelligence and attainment tests. Copenhagen: Danmarks Paedagogiske Institute.Google Scholar
  26. Rasch, G. (1980).Probabilistic models for some intelligence and attainment tests (Expanded ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago.Google Scholar
  27. Rennie, L., & McClafferty, T. (1995). Using visits to interactive science and technology centers, museums, aquaria, and zoos to promote learning in science.Journal of Science Teacher Education, 6(4), 175–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Riggs, I. M., & Enochs, L. G. (1990). Toward the development of an elementary teachers’ science teaching efficacy belief instrument.Science Education, 74, 625–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emilio Duran
    • 1
  • Lena Ballone-Duran
    • 1
  • Jodi Haney
    • 1
  • Svetlana Beltyukova
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Teaching & Learning College of Education & Human DevelopmentBowling Green State UniversityBowling Green
  2. 2.University of ToledoToledoUSA

Personalised recommendations