Teachers’ Perspectives on a Professional Development Intervention to Improve Science Instruction Among English Language Learners

Abstract

Our 5-year professional development intervention is designed to promote elementary teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and practices in teaching science, along with English language and mathematics for English Language Learning (ELL) students in urban schools. In this study, we used an end-of-year questionnaire as a primary data source to seek teachers’ perspectives on our intervention during the first year of implementation. Teachers believed that the intervention, including curriculum materials and teacher workshops, effectively promoted students’ science learning, along with English language development and mathematics learning. Teachers highlighted strengths and areas needing improvement in the intervention. Teachers’ perspectives have been incorporated into our on-going intervention efforts and offer insights into features of effective professional development initiatives in improving science achievement for all students.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Literacy (writing) achievement with third-grade students at the end of the first-year implementation will also be analyzed.

  2. 2.

    At the time of the final workshops in late May 2005 during which the data collection was conducted, teachers had been informed of the student- and school-level scores on the statewide high-stakes assessments in reading and mathematics.

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Correspondence to Scott Lewis.

Appendix

Appendix

Teacher Feedback Questionnaire

Part I

1. Please indicate how effective each of the components of the project has been for your science instruction:

  Very ineffective Somewhat ineffective Somewhat effective Very effective
a. Student science booklets 1 2 3 4
b. Teacher guides 1 2 3 4
c. Science supplies 1 2 3 4
d. Teacher workshops 1 2 3 4

Comments:

2. Please indicate how effectively the project has addressed each of the following areas:

  Very ineffective Somewhat ineffective Somewhat effective Very effective
a. Science learning 1 2 3 4
b. Preparation for statewide science assessment 1 2 3 4
c. English language development 1 2 3 4
d. Students’ home language and culture 1 2 3 4
e. Mathematics learning 1 2 3 4
f. Scientific reasoning 1 2 3 4

Comments:

Part II

  1. 3.

    What impact has your participation in the project had on

    1. a.

      Your knowledge of third-grade science topics?

    2. b.

      How you teach science?

    3. c.

      How you promote English language development in science instruction?

    4. d.

      How you promote mathematics in science instruction?

  2. 4.

    What impact has the project made over the school year with regard to

    1. a.

      How your students learn science?

    2. b.

      How your students learn English language and literacy in science instruction?

    3. c.

      How your students learn mathematics in science instruction?

Part III

  1. 5.

    What aspects or activities of the project (e.g., science supplies, student booklets, teacher guides, workshops, etc.) have been most effective? (What have we done well?) Please rate three in order of effectiveness.

    1. 1.

       

    2. 2.

       

    3. 3.

       

  2. 6.

    What aspects or activities of the project (e.g., science supplies, student books, teacher guides, workshops, reasoning interview, etc.) need improvement? (What can we do better?) Please rate three in order of improvement needed.

    1. 1.

       

    2. 2.

       

    3. 3.

       

Thank you very much!

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Lee, O., Adamson, K., Maerten-Rivera, J. et al. Teachers’ Perspectives on a Professional Development Intervention to Improve Science Instruction Among English Language Learners. J Sci Teacher Educ 19, 41–67 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-007-9081-4

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Keywords

  • Teachers’ perspectives
  • Professional development intervention
  • English language learners
  • Urban education
  • Diversity and equity