Designing An Effective Approach to Science Teacher Educator Professional Development : Lessons from the Science Education Faculty Academy Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ft848t69r

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  • This dissertation consists of a set of three manuscripts exploring features of effective professional development (PD) for science teacher educators. Literature about context-specific PD for science teacher educators is sparse. The first manuscript, a literature review, outlines theoretical lenses through which PD can be understood, the features of effective PD, reviews existing literature on science teacher educators, and makes recommendations about next steps for research. The second manuscript is a mixed methods study that analyzed an array of approaches to professional development for their effectiveness and viability in the context of the Science Education Faculty Academy (SEFA). SEFA was an annual weeklong PD experience for science teacher educators in Virginia. A total of 44 SEFA participants over five years were exposed to a variety of content and session formats. Data consisted of Likert and open-ended survey responses, phone interviews, and on-site observations of SEFA sessions. Quantitative data were analyzed with descriptive and inferential statistics, while qualitative data were analyzed using analytic induction. Participants showed significant gains in their self-perceptions related to understanding and ability to implement reform-based pedagogies; most gains were maintained after one year. Interviews and follow-up surveys revealed a variety of products and collaborations resulting from participation in SEFA. The third manuscript of the set is a qualitative study exploring the vexation and venture model for science teacher educator PD. For the vexation and venture portion of SEFA, participants prepared a text about their issues related to the topic of high-stakes standardized testing and proposed solutions. This text served as a basis for professional discussions during SEFA. Participant-generated texts, phone interviews and field observations were analyzed using constant comparative analysis. Results indicated consensus around the issues participants faced, but a wide variety of proposed solutions. Following SEFA discussions, participants expressed greater agency in effecting change within the state and national policy arenas with regard to the issue of standardized testing. A concluding chapter to the dissertation synthesizes a comprehensive approach and makes recommendations for future science teacher educator PD derived from the contents of all three manuscripts.
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