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SStrategies for Attracting Teachers to and Involving Them in Professional-Development Programs Previous chapters focused on how scientists can most effectively work with teachers and how universities and professional societies can encourage scientists' participation in professional-development programs. This chapter focuses on strategies that have successfully attracted and involved teachers. The examples are drawn from some of the current programs noted in Appendix A. Without substantial teacher involvement, even the most carefully designed program will have little success, simply because teacher involvement to help ensure that the program will have an impact on the educational system at which it was directed. HOW TO ATTRACT TEACHERS 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 those programs and are among the most enthusiastic participants. It is more difficult to attract the much larger potential audience of teachers who are less active professionally and who are on few, if any, profes- sional organizations' mailing lists. The following are some suggestions for ways to identify and recruit the potential audience: . Use a number of channels to reach potential participants. For instance, mail materials directly to teachers, science supervisors, and principals; distribute materials at teachers' meetings and conventions; work with teachers' unions; make presentations at professional meetings and inservice events; and advertise 55
56 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS in teacher professional publications, newsletters, and electronic bulletin boards. Direct mail to targeted teachers is probably the most effective of all enlistment strategies. However, only a 5% response rate can be expected, even from a well- targeted mailing. Lack of communication between administrators and teachers is common, and one cannot depend on science supervisors or principals to relay information to teachers. Use information available in county offices or other intermediate state- government units. In California, for example, 58 county offices can provide various types of educational support services to school districts. Most have extensive countywide address-label mailing lists that can be used for mailing flyers, brochures, and even conference programs to teachers. A few have com- prehensive lists of all secondary-school science or mathematics teachers in the county divided according to subject matter taught. Nonprofit organizations can usually gain access to those mailing lists free or inexpensively. Many county offices also publish a catalog or booklet of future professional-development ac- tivities, including regional conferences and workshops sponsored by other orga . . n~zahons. . . Identify mentor or lead teachers for assistance. Each school district usually has teachers who have served in leadership positions for specific subjects, such as school science-department heads, mentor teachers, science-resource teachers, and teachers who have been active on district science-curriculum com- mittees. Any of those teachers might have the expertise to recommend strategies to publicize professional-development programs and attract teachers to them. Some would be ideal candidates for participating on planning or advisory com- mittees that are developing programs. Names can usually be obtained from school principals or district administrators responsible for curriculum, instruc- tion, or staff development. Examples of programs in which teachers are used as lead teachers are the Evolution and the Nature of Science Institute at Indiana University and San Jose State University; Teachers Teaching Teachers: National Leadership Program for Teachers at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation; City Science at the University of California, San Francisco and San Francisco Unified School District; the UCI Summer Science Institute at the Uni- versity of California, Irvine (UCI); and the Cornell Institute for Biology Teach ers. · Organize special orientations at meetings of continuing programs. The Science Research Expeditions program offered by the University of California Extension Program uses its orientation meetings each fall to publicize and pro- mote interest in its summer research activities. Past participants present brief slide talks about their summer work. Brochures and applications for the follow- ing year's programs are distributed at the meetings.
ATTRACTING TEACHERS TO PROFESSIONAL-DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 57 HOW TO INVOLVE TEACHERS IN PLANNING AND DEVELOPING PROGRAMS If several teachers have agreed to serve on a planning or advisory program committee, there are several effective ways to use their skills and expertise: · Treat the teachers as colleagues, not as subordinates. Make them feel comfortable and valued as members of the committee. Listen carefully to their comments and suggestions. They should be fully involved in all planning activi- ties not just the "teaching" component. . Solicit teachers' opinions about their needs, interests, and problems. Partnership with teachers in developing programs will ensure that the programs provide the help they need and want. · Use the teachers' experience and knowledge to learn how they and their colleagues will react to the program being planned. These teachers might have made presentations to their colleagues and acquired a feel for what will be seen by teachers as workable. The teachers can provide realistic feedback on proposed activities. Input from teachers can, for example, help to develop programs that are intellectually challenging and rigorous, yet appropriate to the backgrounds of the participants. · Have teachers conduct some of the program activities. Effective teachers can serve as models to demonstrate how particular teaching strategies should look in the classroom, as facilitators for discussions about classroom implemen- tation strategies, as communicators of science content when they are competent to do so, and as teachers of laboratory investigations. PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS offering . To attract the largest number of teachers, program planners should consider Continuing-education or college credit. Teachers who are earning credits for salary placement are more willing to participate in programs that offer credit. Program organizers should work with local and state administrators or university administrators to ensure that their programs meet credential and course require- ments. · Financial support. Extended summer institutes (2 weeks or more) usu- ally offer some type of stipend or honorarium. Ideally, the level of financial support matches teachers' per diem and is another attractive factor to entice potential participants. · Room and boardfor participants. Some programs draw participants within commuting distance of the program site, traditionally a local college or univer- sity. When teachers live beyond commuting distance, however, room, board, and
58 travel should be provided. available. · A budget to purchase equipment and supplies for use in the classroom with students. Money for or access to materials and supplies is essential for implementing new activities. School budgets that typically allow only $1-5 per student per year for science, however, are frequently not sufficient to purchase the quantities of materials necessary to implement even the least-expensive hands- on laboratory investigations that teachers might be exposed to during profes- sional-development programs. A small expenditure will enable teachers who become informed and excited about new techniques to implement them in their classrooms. For sophisticated laboratory activities that require special purchases, like those involved in recombinant-DNA technology, teachers should be pro- vided information about grant-writing opportunities or fund-raising strategies at the local level. Access to equipment needed for laboratory activities. Providing equip- ment or teaching kits can help teachers to implement hands-on activities learned during other professional-development programs. Some programs that we exam- ined allowed teachers to share truckloads of scientific equipment, such as electro- phoresis equipment, video equipment, and microscopes. Equipment-sharing con- sortia, in which complete sets of laboratory equipment are rotated among several schools, have proved especially effective in supporting laboratory activities in molecular genetics. Equipment-sharing is part of the programs at the University of Illinois, the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, the Fred Hutchinson Can- cer Research Center, Cornell University, and San Francisco State University. PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS During the summer, economical rates often are . ENLISTING THE SUPPORT OF ADMINISTRATORS Support from administrators such as district superintendents, principals, assistant principals, and even counselors is essential for the success of new programs. Many teachers reported that support from school principals is the most important factor in improving science in the schools. The support of administrators must be cultivated from the outset. It must be made clear to administrators how the programs will make their schools more successful. Once a program is started, organizers should ask administrators to visit the program in action and to talk with the teachers and scientists involved. It is even better to ask administrators to participate. In general, administrators are concerned about their school's progress and image in the eyes of parents and other community members. Therefore, any strategy that includes generating favorable publicity will have a better chance of success. Including special events for parents as part of program activities and inviting the news media to cover them and other aspects of the program will help in achieving success. The statement (see box on p. 60) adopted by the Board of Directors of the
ATTRACTING TEACHERS TO PROFESSIONAL-DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 59 National Association of Biology Teachers provides relevant guidelines for ad- ministrators' support of life-science teachers. RECOMMENDATIONS Professional development should be viewed as a continuous process that includes appropriate staff, administrative, and community support. With that support, teachers will accept more responsibility for their own professional growth and actively participate in appropriate professional activities. K-12 Teachers Teachers should view professional development as a continuous process and become active members of their professional organizations; establish contacts with local scientists; attend appropriate meetings, workshops, and conferences; read and analyze professional journals and newsletters; recruit and act as mentors for new teachers; collaborate with their colleagues; and recognize the important relationship of professionalism to high-quality teaching and learning for their students. Scientists should play an important role in this process by providing opportunities for collegial relationships and by inviting teachers to attend special events and opportunities to learn more about the work of professional scientists. School and School-District Administrators School and school-district administrators should attach high priority to sci- ence education and budget appropriate funds, recognize that all students benefit from quality science education and provide a variety of opportunities for students
60 PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF SCIENCE TEACHERS to become successful in science, take leadership for developing orientation pro- grams for parents and encouraging them to advocate science education, support professional development of teachers of science, and commit appropriate admin- istrative personnel to support professional development of teachers and to sup- port such followup activities as networking, peer coaching, and seminars to con- tinue professional development. Administrators can also strive to improve dissemination of information to teachers about opportunities for professional development and indicate where the science programs fit with professional de- velopment.
ATTRACTING TEACHERS TO PROFESSIONAL-DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS 61 Professional Science-Education Organizations Professional science-education organizations should involve more scientists in organizational activities, such as holding workshops at annual meetings, writ- ing articles for journals, and hosting scientists at their conventions. Those or- ganizations should encourage and welcome academic- and industrial-scientist membership in societies by publicizing meetings in science journals and includ- ing practicing scientists on appropriate committees. They should appoint K-12 education committees that include scientists to plan effective science-based edu- cational activities for teachers and recognize and reward scientists for outstand- ing accomplishments in science education.