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Transformative Professional Development: A Model for Urban Science Education Reform

Abstract

This study presents a model of Transformative Professional Development (TPD) for use in sustained, collaborative, professional development of teachers in urban middle school science. TPD focuses on urban science teacher change and is responsive to school climate, teacher needs, and teacher beliefs with the intention of promoting change in practice. In this study, TPD was used to meet the needs of individual teachers and the collective needs of schools in reform efforts. The experiences of the eight teachers engaged in this process of professional growth, including their changes in practices and beliefs, provide the focus of this paper. Findings in this study revealed that through the use of TPD, participants in this study improved science teaching effectiveness and began to transform their negative school climate and create positive classroom learning environments.

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Acknowledgments

The research reported here was supported by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education, through Grant number R305A090145 to The University of Cincinnati.

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Correspondence to Carla C. Johnson.

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The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the U.S. Department of Education.

Appendix

Appendix

July 2005, Prior to Intervention

Interview Questions UTQ

  1. 1.

    How long have you been teaching science? In this school?

  2. 2.

    What is your bachelors degree in? Your masters degree?

  3. 3.

    How did you decide to become a science teacher?

  4. 4.

    Why did you decide to teach in the Ogden school district?

  5. 5.

    Tell me about your students….

  6. 6.

    What are some of the strengths of your students?

  7. 7.

    What are some of the challenges your students face in and out of the classroom?

  8. 8.

    What are the biggest challenges you face in teaching science to diverse urban students in Ogden?

  9. 9.

    Do you see your Latino students as being different/having different needs than other students in your classes?

  10. 10.

    How important do you think it is for teachers to learn about the different cultures and backgrounds of their students?

  11. 11.

    How is a good science education going to benefit your students in their lives?

  12. 12.

    Do you believe parental support is important and what kind of support do your students have at home?

  13. 13.

    To what extent are parents involved in the school?

  14. 14.

    What are some of the areas you feel you need support in to teach science effectively to all students?

Interview Protocol Fall 2005, Fall 2006

  1. 1.

    What can you tell me about your students this year?

  2. 2.

    What were your initial beliefs of using inquiry before this program?

  3. 3.

    So then, how has participating in the program impacted those beliefs?

  4. 4.

    How do you think your teaching practices have changed as a result of this program?

  5. 5.

    What is your goal for your science instruction?

  6. 6.

    When would you say you began to buy into this program?

  7. 7.

    What aspects or activities of the program have been the most helpful and which would you think need improvement?

  8. 8.

    Do you believe the learning environment in your class and school has improved over the past year?

  9. 9.

    Why is change often hard for teachers?

  10. 10.

    What are fears or concerns relating to using inquiry?

  11. 11.

    When I say there is a crisis in science education today, what does that mean to you?

  12. 12.

    Okay, finish this sentence. If I could teach science without district and testing, I would….

  13. 13.

    How do you think kids learn science and how does this compare to how you teach science?

  14. 14.

    Describe how district events impact your job as a teacher?

  15. 15.

    How could administration support you more?

  16. 16.

    The three main things that I need help with or would like to learn more about this year are what?

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Johnson, C.C., Marx, S. Transformative Professional Development: A Model for Urban Science Education Reform. J Sci Teacher Educ 20, 113–134 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-009-9127-x

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Keywords

  • Professional development
  • Urban schools
  • Science
  • Middle school