expanding relevance to societal issues, and teachers will need ongoing opportunities to build their understanding and ability. Teachers also must have opportunities to develop understanding of how students with diverse interests, abilities, and experiences make sense of scientific ideas and what a teacher does to support and guide all students. And teachers require the opportunity to study and engage in research on science teaching and learning, and to share with colleagues what they have learned.

The standards in this chapter are intended to inform everyone with a role in professional development. They are criteria for the science and education faculties of colleges and universities, who have the primary responsibility for the initial preparation of teachers of science; for teachers who select and design

The current reform effort in science education requires a substantive change in how science is taught; an equally substantive change in professional development practices.

activities for personal professional development; and for all others who design and lead professional development activities.

These standards are also criteria for state and national policy makers who determine important policies and practices, such as requirements for teacher certification and the budget for professional development. In this vision of science education, policies must change so that ongoing, effective professional development becomes central in teachers' lives.

The current reform effort in science education requires a substantive change in how science is taught. Implicit in this reform is an equally substantive change in professional development practices at all levels. Much current professional development involves traditional lectures to convey science content and emphasis on technical training about teaching. For example, undergraduate science courses typically communicate science as a body of facts and rules to be memorized, rather than a way of knowing about the natural world; even the science laboratories in most colleges fail to teach science as inquiry. Moreover, teacher-preparation courses and inservice activities in methods of teaching science frequently emphasize technical skills rather than decision making, theory, and reasoning. If reform is to be accomplished, professional development must include experiences that engage prospective and practicing teachers in active learning that builds their knowledge, understanding, and ability. The vision of science and how it is learned as described in the Standards will be nearly impossible to convey to students in schools if the teachers themselves have never experienced it. Simply put, preservice programs and professional development activities for practicing teachers must model good science teaching, as described in the teaching standards in Chapter 3.

Four assumptions about the nature of professional development experiences and about the context within which they take place frame the professional development standards:

  • Professional development for a teacher of science is a continuous, lifelong process.



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