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.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Literacy (writing) achievement with third-grade students at the end of the first-year implementation will also be analyzed.
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.
Amaral, O. M., Garrison, L., & Klentschy, M. (2002). Helping English learners increase achievement through inquiry-based science instruction. Bilingual Research Journal, 26, 213–239.
August D., & Hakuta K. (Eds.). (1997). Improving schooling for language-minority children: A research agenda. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
Bogdan, R. C., & Biklen, S. K. (2003). Qualitative research for education: An introduction to theories and methods. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Bryan, L. A., & Atwater, M. M. (2002). Teacher beliefs and cultural models: A challenge for science teacher preparation programs. Science Education, 86, 821–839.
Buxton, C. (2005). Creating a culture of academic success in an urban science and math magnet high school. Science Education, 89, 392–417.
Campbell, J. R., Hombo, C. M., & Mazzeo, J. (2000). NAEP 1999 trends in academic progress: Three decades of student performance (NCES 2000-469). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
Cohen, D. K., & Hill, H. C. (2000). Instructional policy and classroom performance: The mathematics reform in California. Teachers College Record, 102, 294–343.
Fradd, S. H., & Lee, O. (1999). Teachers’ roles in promoting science inquiry with students from diverse language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 28(6), 14–20, 42.
Fradd, S. H., Lee, O., Sutman, F. X., & Saxton, M. K. (2002). Materials development promoting science inquiry with English language learners: A case study. Bilingual Research Journal, 25, 479–501.
García, E. E. (1999). Student cultural diversity: Understanding and meeting the challenge (2nd ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
Hampton, E., & Rodriguez, R. (2001). Inquiry science in bilingual classrooms. Bilingual Research Journal, 25, 461–478.
Hart, J., & Lee, O. (2003). Teacher professional development to improve science and literacy achievement of English language learners. Bilingual Research Journal, 27, 475–501.
Hewson, P. W., Kahle, J. B., Scantlebury, K., & Davies, D. (2001). Equitable science education in urban middle schools: Do reform efforts make a difference? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 1130–1144.
Kahle, J. B., Meece, J., & Scantlebury, K. (2000). Urban African American middle school science students: Does standards-based teaching make a difference? Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37, 1019–1041.
Kennedy, M. (1998). Education reform and subject matter knowledge. Journal of Research and Science Teaching, 35, 249–263.
Knapp, M. S. (1997). Between systemic reforms and the mathematics and science classroom: The dynamics of innovation, implementation, and professional learning. Review of Educational Research, 67, 227–266.
Knapp, M. S., & Plecki, M. L. (2001). Investing in the renewal of urban science teaching. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 1089–1100.
Lee, O. (2002). Science inquiry for elementary students from diverse backgrounds. In W. G. Secada (Ed.), Review of research in education (Vol. 26, pp. 23–69). Washington, DC: American Educational Research Association.
Lee, O. (2003). Equity for culturally and linguistically diverse students in science education: A research agenda. Teachers College Record, 105, 465–489.
Lee, O. (2004). Teacher change in beliefs and practices in science and literacy instruction with English language learners. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 65–93.
Lee, O. (2005). Science education and English language learners: Synthesis and research agenda. Review of Educational Research, 75, 491–530.
Lee, O., Deaktor, R. A., Hart, J. E., Cuevas, P., & Enders, C. (2005). An instructional intervention’s impact on the science and literacy achievement of culturally and linguistically diverse elementary students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 42, 857–887.
Lee, O., & Fradd, S. H. (1998). Science for all, including students from non-English language backgrounds. Educational Researcher, 27(3), 12–21.
Lee, O., Hart, J., Cuevas, P., & Enders, C. (2004). Professional development in inquiry-based science for elementary teachers of diverse student groups. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41, 1021–1043.
Lee, O., & Luykx, A. (2005). Dilemmas in scaling up innovations in science instruction with nonmainstream elementary students. American Educational Research Journal, 42, 411–438.
Lee, O., Luykx, A., Buxton, C. A., & Shaver, A. (2007). The challenge of altering elementary school teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding linguistic and cultural diversity in science instruction. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 44(9), 1269–1291.
Lee, O., Maerten-Rivera, J., Penfield, R., LeRoy, K., & Secada, W. G. (2007). Science achievement of English language learners in urban elementary schools: Results of a first-year professional development intervention. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 45(1), 31–52.
Lemke, J. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P. W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. E. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of science and mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
National Assessment of Educational Progress (2000). Retrieved August 18, 2006 from http://www.nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcart/itmrls
National Center for Education Statistics (1999). Teacher quality: A report on the preparation and qualifications of public school teachers. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement.
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (2000). Principles and standards for school mathematics. Reston, VA: Author.
National Research Council (1996). National science education standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
National Research Council (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards: A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Public Law No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425. (2002).
O’Malley, J. M., & Valdez Pierce, L. (1996). Authentic assessments for English language learners. White Plains: NY: Addison Wesley.
Rodriguez, A., & Kitchen, R. S. (Eds.). (2005). Preparing prospective mathematics and science teachers to teach for diversity: Promising strategies for transformative action. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Schmidt, W. H., McKnight, C. C., & Raizen, S. A. (1997). A splintered vision: An investigation of U.S. science and mathematics education. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
Settlage, J., & Meadows, L. (2002). Standards-based reform and its unintended consequences: Implications for science education within America’s urban schools. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 114–127.
Spillane, J. P., Diamond, J. B., Walker, L. J., Halverson, R., & Jita, L. (2001). Urban school leadership for elementary science instruction: Identifying and activating resources in an undervalued school subject. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 918–940.
Stoddart, T., Pinal, A., Latzke, M., & Canaday, D. (2002). Integrating inquiry science and language development for English language learners. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 39, 664–687.
Third International Mathematics and Science Study (1995). Retrieved August 18, 2006, from http://www.timss.bc.edu/timss1995i/TIMSSPDF/ASitems.pdf
Wideen, M. F., O’Shea, T., Pye, I., & Ivany, G. (1997). High-stakes testing and the teaching of science. Canadian Journal of Education, 22, 428–444.
Wong-Fillmore, L., & Snow, C. (2002). What teachers need to know about language. Washington DC: Center for Applied Linguistics.
Teacher Feedback Questionnaire
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|
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|
What impact has your participation in the project had on
Your knowledge of third-grade science topics?
How you teach science?
How you promote English language development in science instruction?
How you promote mathematics in science instruction?
What impact has the project made over the school year with regard to
How your students learn science?
How your students learn English language and literacy in science instruction?
How your students learn mathematics in science instruction?
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.
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.
Thank you very much!
About this article
Cite this article
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
- Teachers’ perspectives
- Professional development intervention
- English language learners
- Urban education
- Diversity and equity