Research in Science Education

, Volume 33, Issue 1, pp 89–110 | Cite as

Supports and Concerns for Teacher Professional Growth During the Implementation of a Science Curriculum Innovation

  • Cheryl (Shelley) E. Peers
  • Carmel M. Diezmann
  • James J. Watters
Article

Abstract

Internationally, considerable reform in science education is occurring which promotes constructivist philosophies and advocates constructivist-inspired pedagogical strategies that are new to many teachers. This paper reports on the supporting factors necessary for teacher professional growth and the issues of concern that were evident during one primary teacher's successful implementation of a unit of work based on a draft of a new state-wide science syllabus which proposes such approaches. One researcher (CEP) provided guidance during the writing and implementation of the unit through professional development workshops complemented by ongoing collegial support. The analysis of the teacher's practice reveals that professional growth required a willingness of the teacher to engage with change and modify his professional practice. The support factors for teacher growth consisted of an appropriate program of professional development, teacher understanding of the elements of the curriculum innovation, and successful experiences in implementing new approaches. In contrast, the issues of concern were: the adequacy of support for planning including the time required to understand the innovation and make changes to teaching practice; science equipment; teacher knowledge; classroom management strategies; and ways to cope with change. Understanding of these support factors and issues of concern is vital for the successful implementation of science curriculum innovations.

constructivism curriculum change elementary science education primary science education teacher professional growth 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cheryl (Shelley) E. Peers
    • 1
  • Carmel M. Diezmann
    • 2
  • James J. Watters
    • 2
  1. 1.Queensland Studies AuthorityCanada
  2. 2.Queensland University of TechnologyCanada

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