Research Experiences in Teacher Preparation: Effectiveness of the Green Bank preservice teacher enhancement program
The purpose of this study was to examine the effectiveness of the preservice teacher component of the Research Experiences in Teacher Preparation (RETP) project aimed at enhancing teacher perceptions of the nature of science, science research, and science teaching. Data was collected for three preservice teacher groups during the three phases of the program: (I) a one week institute held at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, West Virginia where teachers performed astronomy research using a 40 foot diameter radio telescope; (II) a secondary science methods course; and (III) student teaching placements. Four Likert-type instruments were developed and administered pre and post-institute to assess changes in perceptions of science, attitudes toward research, concerns about implementing research in the classroom, and evaluation of the institute. Instruments were re-administered following the methods course and student teaching. Observations of classroom students conducting research were completed for seven preservice teacher participants in their student teaching placements.
Analysis, using t-tests, showed a significant increase in preservice teachers perceptions of their ability to do research. Preservice teachers were not concerned about implementing research in their placements. No significant change was measured in their understanding of the nature of science and science teaching. Concept maps demonstrated a significant increase in radio astronomy content knowledge. Participants responded that the value of institute components, quality of the research elements, and preparation for implementing research in the classroom were ""good"" to ""excellent"". Following the methods course (Phase II) no significant change in their understanding of the nature of science or concerns about implementing projects in the classroom were measured. Of the 7 preservice teachers who were observed implementing research projects, 5 projects were consistent with the Green Bank model. Student teachers who had initiated research in their classrooms had fewer concerns about doing them than those that had not. No significant change was measured in their perceptions of science and science teaching. The RETP project serves as a viable constructivist model for exposing preservice teachers to science research and transferring that experience to the classroom.
Type of Publication
Hemler, Debra A.
West Virginia University
Nation(s) of Study
United States of America