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Summary Stimulated by concern for the state of biology education nationally, a Na- tional Research Council committee in 1990 prepared the report Fulfilling the Promise: Biology Education in the Nation's Schools. The centerpiece of the report was the call for leadership from the scientific community, "as both guide and goad, both resource and participant," to promote sustained reform in science education at all levels. Among its recommendations was that improvements be made in "inservice" education the activities engaged in by teachers as they continue to learn. The present Committee on Biology Teacher Inservice Pro- grams was formed in the Board on Biology of the National Research Council's Commission on Life Sciences to pursue that recommendation by examining a sample of programs for the inservice training of biology teachers, determining which of the programs worked best and why they worked well, and preparing a report that would guide scientists as they work with science teachers for the improvement of biology education. This report is not about the need for educational reform. Educational reform is vital, but many other reports address it the National Science Education Stan- dards and the Project 2061 Benchmarks for Science Literacy of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to name only two. This report is instead a practical "how-to" guide, primarily for scientists but also for teachers and administrators, on how to design, implement, and evaluate professional- development programs. This committee' s use of the term professional develop- ment instead of inservice emphasizes its belief that the science teacher and the practicing scientist are full partners in a professional community dedicated to improving science education and that each brings different strengths and re- sources to the process. 1
2 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS In addition to the goal of guiding scientists and teachers about professional- development programs, we hope to communicate to the National Science Foun- dation and other funding agencies our findings concerning the breadth and scope of professional-development activities for science teachers and to offer our as- sessment of where more information, attention, and funds are needed to promote sustainable programs that work. Our subject is important. Any society that is serious about the education of its children must be equally serious about supporting the continuing education of those charged with that task. If we are to meet the needs of diverse students and the nation's needs for scientifically literate citizens and skilled workers, it is essential that teachers have the opportunity to continue to expand their knowl- edge and develop their pedagogical skills and laboratory expertise from their undergraduate education throughout their professional career. The committee reviewed almost 200 professional-development programs nationwide and examined a number of these programs in detail, including site visits and interviews. The reviews, combined with our professional experience and knowledge, helped us to define the desirable characteristics of programs and to judge the effectiveness of programs by how well they achieved the desirable characteristics. This summary provides only a taste of the detailed guidance provided in the text and appendixes of the report. CHARACTERISTICS OF EFFECTIVE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS Our review of programs revealed that each of the most effective profes- sional-development programs shared the following characteristics: · Scientists, teachers, and administrators collaborated in the program's de- velopment and implementation. Participating teachers were treated as professionals. The program was designed to meet important school-based needs. Opportunities were provided for continuing involvement among partici pants. . gram. . . Evaluation was a continuous process and was used to improve the pro New partnerships, projects, and networks were stimulated among partici patina teachers and between teachers and scientists. administrators. . Program directors used effective publicity and recruitment strategies. The program was encouraged and supported by school districts and school · Effective dissemination strategies were used. · Program directors had practical knowledge of the process of change. · A charismatic person or group provided strong leadership.
SUMMARY 3 THE SCIENTIST'S ROLE Scientists have an obligation to assist in science teachers' professional devel- opment. Many scientists recognize the obligation and are ready to get involved. Scientists can provide opportunities for teachers to learn how the scientific pro- cess works what scientists do and how and why they do it. They can provide research opportunities for practicing teachers; act as scientific partners; provide connections to the rest of the scientific community; assist in writing grant propos- als for science-education projects; provide hands-on, inquiry-based workshops for area teachers; and provide teachers access to equipment, scientific journals, and catalogs not usually available in schools. They can help teachers to review educational material for its accuracy and utility. When scientists teach their undergraduate classes and laboratories, potential science teachers are present. Scientists should recognize that as an opportunity to promote and act as a model of both good process and accurate content teaching and so strive to improve their own teaching. Most professional scientific societies have recognized the importance of the involvement of their members in programs to improve education. Nearly every one has an office dedicated to "education." Some also organize special work- shops at annual meetings directed to scientists interested in K-12 education or workshops and scientific sessions directed at teachers. The professional societies can help teachers to secure funding, coordinate summer research opportunities for teachers in members' research laboratories in a way that relates to the class- room environment, publicize and disseminate effective supplementary curricular materials, and encourage and welcome teacher membership in societies by reduc- ing fees, publicizing meetings in science-education journals, and including teach- ers on education committees. Professional societies can devote sections of scien- tific-research journals and newsletters to education articles and refereed educational-research papers. Such a change in editorial policy will help to reduce the barriers between teaching and research. GETTING STARTED Given the numerous ways for scientists to involve themselves in profes- sional-development programs, how do they get started? Before planning a pro- fessional-development program, a scientist should initiate interactions with teach- ers and school administrators to become familiar with the needs of elementary- and secondary-school science teachers and learn about the realities of the school system. Many a scientist's first inclination is to volunteer to give a 1- to 2-hour class presentation and discussion of his or her own research or discipline. That can provide contact with teachers and is a good starting point if the scientist recognizes and respects the needs of the teachers. A valuable next step would be to visit the elementary- or secondary-school science classroom of one of the teachers for at least an entire day. That gives the scientist a realistic view of
4 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS schools and allows him or her to see teachers at work in the environment of the classroom. As a followup activity, the scientist can invite local teachers to campus and structure special seminars and demonstrations at times convenient for teachers. The scientist can foster open discussions about teachers' needs, explore opportu- nities for future activities, and discuss the implications of collaboration for K-12 science teaching and learning. The scientist can also invite teachers to the re- search laboratory to participate in experiments. The one-on-one interaction be- tween teacher and scientist can develop into work with postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and technicians. Teachers become members of a community of people "doing science." INVOLVING TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS Teachers who are already actively involved in professional organizations or have actively sought professional-development opportunities generally receive a wealth of information on workshops, conferences, and summer institutes. Many of them consistently attend such professional-development programs and are among the most enthusiastic participants. The challenge is to identify and attract the much larger potential audience of teachers who are less active professionally. They can be reached through use of school-district and leacher' e-union mailing lists, but programs must be well designed and rewarding to attract and retain the teachers. Once teacher participants have been recruited, program organizers should treat them as colleagues and partners. In many programs, teachers conduct some of the program activities. Teachers are encouraged to participate in programs if the programs offer continuing-education or college credit and financial support. Support from administrators such as district superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and counselors is essential for the continued success of new programs. The administrators must agree that the programs will make their schools more successful. If they do agree, they can attach high priority to science education and budget appropriate funds, recognize that all students benefit from quality science education and provide a variety of opportunities for students to become successful in science, take leadership for developing orientation pro- grams for parents and encouraging parents to advocate science education, support professional development of science teachers, and commit appropriate adminis- trative personnel to support professional development of teachers and to support such followup activities as networking, peer coaching, and seminars to continue professional development. Administrators can also strive to improve dissemina- tion of information to teachers about opportunities for professional development. Professional science-education organizations can help to build bridges be- tween teachers and scientists by inviting scientists to teachers' conventions, in- volving scientists in such organizational activities as workshops, and inviting
SUMMARY s scientists to write articles for the organizations' journals. The science-education organizations can encourage and welcome academic and industrial scientists by publicizing their meetings in journals read by the scientists. They can appoint appropriate scientists to committees to help plan science-based educational ac- tivities for teachers, and they can recognize and reward scientists for outstanding accomplishments in science education. ENCOURAGEMENT THROUGH REWARDS The institutional culture of nearly every university requires that faculty con- tribute by research, teaching, and service, but few institutions reward research and teaching equally, and fewer reward service at all. Although research has a wide range of external rewards (such as grants, national and international pres- tige, and meeting invitations), good teaching is rarely rewarded externally and is often underappreciated internally. The lack of recognition and rewards, particu- larly for junior faculty at research universities, is a major impediment to scien- tists' participation in professional development of teachers. To encourage the involvement of scientists in professional-development pro- grams, their efforts must be treated as a part of their professional responsibility, recognized, and rewarded. University and college administrators and faculty can help by rewarding participating faculty through the promotion and merit-increase processes. The administrators can support partnerships with schools and school districts by providing on-campus facilities and support for K-12 teachers, by promoting cooperation between schools of education and science departments, and by participating in national reform efforts. Professional scientific societies can recognize and reward scientists for outstanding accomplishment in science education. Teachers need to be recognized and recompensed for their participation in professional-development programs. Tangible ways are to provide continuing- education or college credit for the programs, room and board for participants in programs when appropriate, and funds to purchase equipment and supplies for use in the teachers' classroom. No less important is that administrators show through the promotion and merit-increase processes that they encourage and reward teachers' participation in professional-development programs. INDIVIDUAL-BASED AND SYSTEMIC PROGRAMS Most professional-development programs are designed for individual teach- ers and reach only a few teachers. A major challenge for professional-develop- ment programs is to get all teachers involved. Various systemic reforms de- signed to link teachers in whole schools, school districts, and states are attempting to do that. Both individual-based and systemic forms of professional-develop- ment programs have merits, and both are needed to drive education reform.
6 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS However, we believe that systemic programs can contribute more effectively to science-education reform; most important, they have the prospect of reaching all teachers and not just those motivated and able to participate in individual-based programs, and they have better potential for becoming institutionalized to pro- vide continuity and ensure long-term support. Our survey of effective individual-based programs showed that they are not imposed from the top down but are instead built on the efforts of small partner- ships of dedicated teachers, scientists, and administrators. The overwhelming majority of those programs' activities involve specific topics, such as molecular biology, biotechnology, genetics, or ecology. Most common are lectures or lecture series, courses with lectures and laboratory activities offered for course credit or continuing-education credits, topical workshops during the summer, summer research experiences in academic or industrial laboratories, sabbatical years spent in research or working in a university department, workshops at scientific-society or teachers-association meetings, state workshops, and local school-district workshops. Although some programs are open to teachers in specific regions, schools, districts, or states, others draw participants from a national pool through a selective application process. Generally, those who planned and funded the individual-based programs that we surveyed did not belong to local school administrative structures. Teachers and scientists involved in the programs often benefited greatly, but the programs rarely became self- sustaining. Many lasted only until the first round of funding disappeared- usually no more than a few years and few of these offered followup activities to teachers after their participation in the programs. The focus of systemic efforts for science-education reform, and for educa- tion reform more generally, goes beyond the individual teacher; systemic efforts are aimed at improving the organization of an educational system so that it can function more effectively. Professional-development programs that embrace this approach are linked to larger systemic efforts that aim to improve all components of an educational system such as teaching, student achievement, curriculum, administrative leadership, and school policies and practice and to institutional- ize changes that prove effective. An underlying assumption in this approach is that members of different parts of the system such as principals, teachers, par- ents, and university faculty are included in the planning of the change process from the outset. This inclusion allows the effort to obtain the massive support it needs by providing stakeholders with a sense of ownership. Scientists who involve themselves with either individual-based programs or systemic programs should first learn about the current science-related programs and projects that involve their local schools or school districts. Relationships must be nurtured so that all parties become better acquainted and have time to develop a working relationship. In addition to involving key teachers early in the planning process, early inclusion of school and school-district administrators is
SUMMARY 7 important. An adept administrator can help to develop an effective school or district partnership by facilitating communication and obtaining support. The more realistic and better-focused are the goals of a program, the easier it will be to recruit supporters and advocates. District commitments especially financial commitments are sometimes difficult to obtain. Scientists must have realistic expectations of how long it takes to facilitate change and must be sensitive to political realities. Reform is often easier in elementary schools than in secondary schools, and elementary schools might be better places to start. Whatever form a professional-development program takes and whatever or- ganization sponsors it, it will be more effective if it is institutionalized to provide continuity and ensure long-term support. This message is vital. EVALUATION Large amounts of federal and private money are being spent on innovative programs for the professional development of K-12 science teachers, and many people are devoting much time and energy to this critical component of excellent science education. But we need to be able to identify programs that work and programs that do not, and evaluation is a daunting and expensive task. The primary question to be answered is, "Has the professional-development program being evaluated helped teachers to create a high-quality learning environment so that their students are doing better in science?" The answer is difficult to obtain because long-term followup is required and it is hard to know whether improve- ments are the result of participation by teachers in professional-development programs or something else. It is important to establish an evaluation plan from the outset of program design. This process forces clarity in thinking about program objectives and activities in much the same way that careful planning of scientific research forces clarity of thinking about experimental design. Comprehensive evaluation is not necessary or cost-effective for every program. Instead, selected programs, such as biotechnology programs or systemwide programs or all programs in a geo- graphic region, could be reviewed as a group. The goal is to learn about the net effect of a program on teachers and students and to identify strengths, weak- nesses, and gaps in content, pedagogy, or geographic distribution. Although long-term followup evaluation is desirable, continuing, short-term evaluation is also critical and was used in every effective professional-development program that we reviewed. Program directors and principal investigators should not have primary re- sponsibility for followup evaluation of their own programs, but they should have a major role in continuing evaluation. Evaluation is a specialized skill best ap- plied by persons with a background in the methods of social-science and educa- tion research. Furthermore, program directors might be too close to their own programs to evaluate them objectively.
8 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS FUNDING Science-related professional-development activities are funded by a variety of federal, state, local, and private sources. The primary direct sources of federal funding for professional-development activities are the National Science Founda- tion and the Department of Education, but other federal agencies have education activities at the K-12 level. The Department of Education's Dwight D. Eisen- hower Professional Development Program is an important source of funds that states use locally for the training and professional development of elementary- and secondary-school science and mathematics teachers. Private foundations are an important source of local funds for professional- development activities, as are local and regional philanthropic organizations and, increasingly, local businesses and industry. At a time when both national government and local governments face severe financial stringency, priorities for expenditures must be established. Our recom- mendations are aimed at making available funds go as far as possible. Expendi- ture for professional-development programs is an investment in the future. The investment will earn the greatest possible return if we · Increase the duration of education grants so that professional-develop- ment programs have time to build partnerships and become self-sustaining. · Provide supplements to research grants to encourage scientists to partici- pate in professional-development programs. · Fund professional, third-party evaluation to determine the effectiveness ~ . Or mayor programs. · Encourage programs that focus on systemic change. · Fund programs that eliminate barriers to and stimulate cooperation be- tween science and teacher-education departments at colleges and universities. · Earmark substantial grant funds for supplies and equipment to support implementation of programs by teachers in their classrooms. · Link funding of curriculum development with professional development. · Involve both scientists and educators in the peer-review process for edu- cation grants. · Fund activities that are aimed at creating methods of evaluating how professional-development programs affect students' learning of science. · Fund the establishment of an information and dissemination center for professional-development programs. We urge scientists to step out of their laboratory, classroom, or field site and to adopt our vision of scientists and teachers working as colleagues in the con- tinuum of science education. This report is intended as a road map to help that happen.