Exploring The Impact Of Science Research Experiences For Teachers: Stories Of Growth And Identity
Education reform in the U.S. promotes the teaching of inquiry in science to help students understand how science is done and to increase constructivist, student centered instruction. This qualitative study investigated changes in teachers’ understandings about scientific inquiry and nature of science as well as science teaching as a result of participation in one of three summer science research programs. This study also explored what teachers reported valuing about their experiences as they progressed through the program and returned to their classrooms.
Data were collected through open-ended surveys, semi-structured interviews, program observation and artifact analysis before, during, and after the research programs as well as follow-up surveys and semi-structured interviews six to nine months after the research programs had ended. In addition to overall findings, six cases are presented to highlight changes and growth that occurred.
Participation in these programs did not always lead to the outcomes intended by facilitators, such as strong changes in teachers’ understandings about scientific inquiry and full implementation of research with their students; yet there were significant positive outcomes from participants’ perspectives.
Teachers’ understandings of scientific inquiry and nature of science changed in small ways as measured by a modified Views of Scientific Inquiry/Views of Nature of Science Survey; however, participants changed their descriptions of science teaching after the programs. These descriptions included more affective goals for their students, the use of more student centered activities, and the importance of engaging students in research. On their post surveys, participants reported their intentions to implement more classroom inquiry, including science research. In follow-up surveys and interviews teachers reported engaging students in more active roles in their classrooms. In addition, teachers reported valuing a number of other outcomes from their participation in these programs. These included increased knowledge and skills in science, insider information about professional science, increased credibility, professional and personal growth, and improvements in students’ knowledge and engagement in science and research. An emergent finding of the study was that participating in these research programs had an influence on some participants’ identities related to doing science, being a scientist, and teaching science.
Type of Publication
Buxner, Sanlyn R.
University of Arizona
Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies
Number of Pages
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America