Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 601–620 | Cite as

Reflections on Discourse Practices During Professional Development on the Learning Cycle

  • Clare Valerie BellEmail author
  • Arthur Louis Odom


While much is known about K-12 teachers’ participation in professional development (PD) on inquiry-based science instruction, how professors facilitate such PD is not as well documented. This reflective, descriptive study documents the pedagogical practices of three professors during a two-week summer PD program on inquiry-based science instruction. Twenty teachers of fourth- through ninth-grade students in a Midwestern city engaged in lessons based on the learning cycle (Lawson in Science teaching and the development of thinking. Wadsworth, Belmont, CA, Lawson 1995). Data sources included video-recorded observations with transcripts, video-recorded post-observation interviews with transcripts, and audio-recorded follow-up interviews with transcripts. Data were analyzed to create descriptive narratives around excerpts of discourse from PD sessions and interviews. Analyses indicated that implementation of the learning cycle lessons varied among the professors. These findings led to further questions concerning the professors’ beliefs about the learning cycle and the ways that teachers were positioned as learners during PD.


Discourse Inquiry Learning cycle Professional development 



We would like to acknowledge the professors who graciously agreed to participate in the study in order to investigate their implementation of the PD program. Such detailed investigation into teaching practice does not occur frequently in higher education and could be considered threatening. We appreciate the openness and trust displayed by our PD collaborators while sharing their thoughts.


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Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of Missouri—Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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