A Clearer Vision: Creating and Evolving a Model to Support the Development of Science Teacher Leaders

Abstract

This paper describes a professional development model for developing science teacher leaders that has evolved and been refined through working with 16 high school chemistry and physics teachers in high-needs schools over the past 3 years. The theoretical framework draws upon Goodwin’s notion of professional vision and Dempsey’s four metaphors to inform an understanding of professional identity consistent with innovation and empowerment in (a) the classroom setting with students and (b) with teachers in collegial environments. Thus, leadership practices and purposes are discussed at two distinct levels and contexts, which interact reflexively. Sociolinguistic discourse analysis of multiple data sources enabled us to identify the professional development features that promoted or hindered the teachers’ growth toward a leadership perspective and disposition. Implications for science teacher renewal and retention as well as limitations of the study and proposed leadership model are also shared and discussed.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Across the state in which the I-IMPACT project is being implemented, it is standard practice to engage in ability grouping of students. On-level classes are constituted of students who are of average or below-average ability based on prior performance in their classes, as well as the results of psychometric tests.

  2. 2.

    With Tess, it is hard to properly identify her years of experience in the classroom. Although she had taught in the public schools for 5 years, she did some teaching overseas. Those experiences mostly involved tutoring individual or small groups of students.

  3. 3.

    All of the MTFs were provided with copies of the book Multipliers. Because this was done in the summer and they had already been given a number of items to read, the MTFs were largely left to decide whether they would read this book. However, in a private conversation with Natalie, Gary strongly suggested that she take on this assignment. As the succeeding data shows, others in the group did this voluntarily.

  4. 4.

    The TED Talk is by Uri Alon and is titled Why Truly Innovative Science Demands a Leap into the Unknown. It can be accessed at http://www.ted.com/talks/uri_alon_why_truly_innovative_science_demands_a_leap_into_the_unknown.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the National Science Foundation for funding this research through DUE 1035451.

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Correspondence to Brett A. Criswell.

Appendix A—Transcription Conventions

Appendix A—Transcription Conventions

  1. 1.

    A pair of set brackets ({}) indicate inaudible speech.

  2. 2.

    An italicized word(s) represent an emphasis by the speaker on that word(s).

  3. 3.

    A pair of colons (::) inserted within a word indicate that a particular syllable was drawn out by the speaker.

  4. 4.

    Ellipses (…) indicate either a pause of less than half a second or a change in direction in the speaker’s line of thought.

  5. 5.

    An equals sign (=) denotes latching, when pauses that are normally found in speech (such as between speaker turns) are missing, and one segment of speech rapidly follows another.

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Criswell, B.A., Rushton, G.T., McDonald, S.P. et al. A Clearer Vision: Creating and Evolving a Model to Support the Development of Science Teacher Leaders. Res Sci Educ 48, 811–837 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-016-9588-9

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Keywords

  • Science teacher leadership
  • Discourse analysis
  • Professional vision
  • Professional identity