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8 A Vision of the Future The committee recognizes that implementing its recommendations will re- quire adequate continued funding, changes in institutional values, and systemic reform at many levels. Nonetheless, our review of programs that are helping teachers to improve science education in many parts of the country makes us optimistic that improvements are possible. This report should help to promote many more such programs. Focusing on empowering teachers in their classrooms and providing scientists with support for involvement in continuing professional development can improve science education for all students. If that happens, teachers, classrooms, and scientists will be different in the future. We describe here our vision of the future. A FUTURE TEACHER Dr. Preston Jordan is a secondary-school teacher in the twenty-first century. He is no longer considered to be a biology or chemistry or even a science teacher, because his professional development has included opportunities to become knowledgeable in at least two major subjects (mathematics and science) and to work with the partnership team at his school, which consists of a humanities-fine arts specialist (from the community), a social-sciences professor (from the local college), a vocational-arts and career counselor (from a local industry), and four aides, two of whom are college undergraduates seriously considering teaching as their future profession. His teaching team is responsible for coordinating the educational activities of a group of ninth-grade students throughout the school year. 82
A VISION OF THE FUTURE 83 As a former research scientist, Dr. Jordan obtained his teaching credential through a special work-study program that enabled him to continue working part- time at a nearby biotechnology laboratory. His preservice experiences were quite similar to those of people who graduated from the regular credential program, in that most of them spent at least one summer and usually part of the school year as interns with one of the local businesses or industries. That enabled them and Dr. Jordan to develop some important practical connections to what they would be teaching. His teaching credential stipulates that he must continue a professional-devel- opment program for his entire career. The choice of activities is determined by him and his professional-development counselor (a district employee who works part-time as a student counselor or for a local industry) subject to approval by the district's professional-development coordinator. The science curriculum, well integrated into the other major subject pro- grams, has been developed from the National Science Education Standards and his state's Science Curriculum Framework. The American Association for the Advancement of Science Project 2061 developed some innovative curriculum- implementation models, one of which has been adapted at his school because of its interdisciplinary structure. The Scope, Sequence, and Coordination Project produced by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), has stimulated the development and dissemination of various integrated science units, some of which he has adapted for use in his classroom. This summer, because Dr. Jordan will be team-teaching a new integrated unit next year that involves some basic botany concepts, he and his counselor have decided that a special summer institute on Fast Plants would be most appropriate. This program has now developed a network of satellite resource centers through- out the country, and several possibilities are within driving distance. The 2-week summer institute is wonderful: several well-known botanists from the nearby college and community college have teamed with two experi- enced secondary-school teachers to present the program. They group-teach the institute and model and provide a variety of effective learning activities, includ- ing field trips, that all the participants enjoy. A special provision has been made to help all participants to obtain the necessary equipment and supplies for their classrooms through the sponsorship of the institute and partnership with some local nurseries and florists. Followup activities during the school year will in- clude some classroom visits by the institute staff for both consultation and guest presentations, school-year sessions for continuing opportunities to network and share experiences, and some special laboratory activities and field trips to expand their knowledge base. Next summer, several internships will be available with the nurseries. Thanks to his summer and school-year professional-development activities, Dr. Jordan has established professional relationships with scientists throughout the region. Several years ago, he took a fascinating earth-science workshop and
84 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS met a geologist who works at the U.S. Geological Survey. They keep in touch; recently, she provided him with some special topographic maps that helped his students to understand the geology of their area. Dr. Jordan's district provides 10 professional-development days beyond his normal teaching schedule each year. He may also submit minigrant proposals related to his professional-development activities that will help him to implement what he has learned. Dr. Jordan used three of his days to attend the national convention of NSTA, where he gave a talk on the challenges and rewards of teaching an integrated science curriculum. Since he joined the district and began his teaching career, Dr. Jordan has been a part of a teacher-support program that was originally developed for new teachers. (His district had the wisdom to see that all teachers, not only beginning teachers, need support.) The support program provides him with two mentors- one at his school and the other at another district school. All teachers have the opportunity to meet regularly during the school year; during these interactions, they may serve as peer coaches or team teachers or merely provide comments as they observe one another teach. Next year, now that Dr. Jordan will have taught for 5 years, he will become a mentor to one of the new teachers recently hired by the district. He is looking forward to expanding the variety of roles played by a truly professional teacher. A FUTURE CLASSROOM Imagine a future classroom. It looks and feels very different from the "old days." There are very thin textbooks with eight or nine basic concepts on two or three topics integrated across mathematics, science, and societal issues. Learning is not book-centered, but centered on information access, management, and use. Each table or learning station has several sets of objects to manipulate to rein- force hands-on, inquiry-based learning. Each learning station also has a modern information-access facility, including computers, Internet access, CD-ROM reader, and satellite feed. In the classroom of the future, · Learning takes place in teams of students and is based on themes that are relevant to students and society. · Teachers show students how to learn with analogies, by posing questions, and by demonstrating methods of finding answers. · Teachers are linked or partnered with scientists in research facilities or related businesses. . Students work on actual problems in the business, medical, and research worlds. For example, student teams work with local agencies and companies to examine local problems in transportation, urban water supply, waste disposal, recycling, and new-product development.
A VISION OF THE FUTURE 85 · Students carry out both short- and long-term research projects that require integration of science and mathematics. Students write up their observations and interpretations in their personal journals. · Students gain access to data from the National Institutes of Health, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other agencies to work on real problems with teams from other high schools in other states and countries. · Students have direct access to the questions being posed by research teams, to their data, and to the teams themselves. · Students are no longer isolated in the classroom, nor is their education confined to 6 hours per day, 9 months per year. Instead, many options are avail- able, such as year-long classes, evening classes, and work credit related to team involvement in community projects that real address real issues and solve real problems. · Vocational-biology classes are popular and allow an emphasis on learn- ing job skills needed by laboratory technicians who monitor robotics in labora- tory experimentation. Student teams isolate genes in plants, feed into national databases, and help to develop new medications, engineered plants for agricul- ture, and so on. A FUTURE SCIENTIST Dr. Irene Martinez has just been promoted to associate professor with tenure after 6 years as an assistant professor at a research university that is in the top 20 in extramural funding. She has maintained a continuously funded research pro- gram in molecular biology as an assistant professor, but her grants have been supplemented by education funds to support undergraduates and teachers in her laboratory. For 3 years, Dr. Martinez had two high-school teachers working in her laboratory during the summer. They worked most directly with a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory and participated in regular laboratory-research meetings, presenting their findings to the group. As part of their summer experience, they met weekly with teachers working in other laboratories in the department and discussed their experiences and planned how to translate them into activities in their own classrooms. During the school year, Dr. Martinez and the students and postdoctoral fel- lows in her laboratory visited the teachers' classrooms and helped them with their experiments. They also described their own personal background and how they got interested in science. Dr. Martinez's laboratory was "adopted" by the high- school teacher's biology-laboratory class. Because the teacher's school is con- nected to the nationwide computer network, the students in the classroom can communicate electronically with these scientists, whom they now recognize as "real" people. They can send questions on the network that are posted on a bulletin board in Dr. Martinez's laboratory. Researchers in the laboratory see the questions and help the students to find answers. The answers in turn are posted in
86 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS the high-school classroom. Laboratory members often debate the appropriate answers to ethical and social questions. They often send pictures, diagrams, or short movies from their university's science library, which contains CD-ROMs and videodisks. Once, when a high-school student inquired about a specific experimental technique, an undergraduate student in the laboratory videotaped herself doing the experiment and forwarded the video over the network. Dr. Martinez was worried about how much time she was spending in work- ing with the teachers and students, although she and her laboratory found it both rewarding and fun. She was encouraged by her department head to treat this as an important responsibility of all university faculty and to assume that success in her efforts would be rewarded. As part of Dr. Martinez's record of accomplishment for university promo- tion to tenure, she described how she had used the education supplements to her research grants. The supplements enabled her to work with the teachers and to provide the computer-network equipment and the training to use it so that they would be able to communicate with the university laboratory. Dr. Martinez had gotten interested in this technology and in working with the teachers through the university's Center for Science Education. The center pro- vided well-equipped laboratories for high-school teachers and students to work with university faculty in larger groups than could be accommodated in indi- vidual laboratories. Half the permanent staff of the center were permanently funded by the university; the remainder were funded by the school district, the state, and a federal grant. Two of the center staff were specialists in education evaluation. Dr. Martinez could not help applying the same rigor to her teaching activities as to designing her experiments, and she wanted to learn which of the activities she conducted with teachers were most effective in helping the students in their classrooms. The staff of the center first helped her to find and analyze the education-research literature on the value of research experiences for teachers. She then decided that she and three other faculty colleagues in her department and six colleagues at a different university would try different kinds of followup activities with the teachers, varying the roles of students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty in visits and comparing electronic communication with a newsletter and written and telephone contact. Their results suggested that electronic com- munication worked best because the rapid feedback and somewhat indirect nature increased the comfort of students and led them to ask the questions that they really wanted to have answered, some of which they thought might sound "dumb." Dr. Martinez and her colleagues, with the help of the center staff in analyzing the data from questionnaires and students' standardized testing and hands-on labora- tories, published two papers on their findings. They also presented them at the national conventions of the American Society for Cell Biology, and they and the teachers presented a poster at the NSTA national convention. The paper on the education experiment was regarded by the university's promotion and tenure committee as strong evidence of scholarship in teaching. It
A VISION OF THE FUTURE 87 recognized that the time spent by Dr. Martinez and members of her laboratory working with high-school teachers and students decreased the number not the quality of her publications, but the teaching accomplishments more than com- pensated for this. It also noted that the education supplements to her research grants made her one of the best-funded assistant professors in her department. The promotion and tenure committee was impressed that Dr. Martinez's experi- ence in using electronic communication with the high-school teachers and stu- dents encouraged her to expand the use of electronic communication in her up- per-division cell-biology course, whose enrollment had increased to more than 300 students. There she found that electronic communication among the students themselves facilitated their cooperative learning and that they often answered each other's questions before she had a chance to reply. Dr. Martinez's success has encouraged her faculty colleagues to work with teachers. Their department has now adopted a whole school in their district and is working with teachers and principals to expand electronic communication both within the school and between the school and the university. That has attracted the interest of the English and art departments, which have begun working with other teachers in the school. PREPARING FUTURE TEACHERS Dr. Nahn Daung joined the Upstate University Biology Department 10 years ago as a research geneticist and assistant professor of biology. In addition to the work with his graduate students in the laboratory, he has been teaching the second core course in biology for freshmen every other spring semester. He has found that he enjoys teaching basic conceptual biology because it helps him to translate his own research in the human-genome project into classroom and labo- ratory activities. It is hard to tell what careers the freshmen will pursue, but because of his love of teaching Dr. Daung has become a mentor for a number of students who plan to become secondary-school science teachers. His goal is to ensure that all future science teachers who pass through his department have worked with a scientist to experience investigative activities in science laborato- ries. All those students will learn how to design inquiry-based laboratory exer- cises that can be used in the classroom. Recently, Dr. Daung has worked with a faculty team in teaching a course for senior science majors who plan to go into teaching. He, a chemist, and a nuclear physicist have been conducting a semester-long seminar in which students from all the sciences re-examine the primary concepts from their undergraduate study and make connections with students who majored in other science fields. During the seminars, he has gotten to know science majors just before they began student teaching. He has kept in touch with several of his beginning teachers through electronic mail and has given several guest presentations for one of them by video conference. In that way, he has been able to show the high-school students
88 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS what is being done in his laboratory and to engage students in thinking about the kinds of questions that his laboratory is working on. Dr. Daung also has periodic meetings with the faculty in the school of educa- tion. Through a team approach, faculty in the sciences and education work together to develop undergraduate curricula that couple science content and pro- cess with pedagogic skills. He enjoys his dual role as researcher-educator. He was most pleased when he was recently appointed to serve on the Science Advi- sory Board of the State Teacher Credentialing Commission.