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Tep Vol 26-N4

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Teacher Education and Practice, a peer-refereed journal, is dedicated to the encouragement and the dissemination of research and scholarship related to professional education. The journal is concerned, in the broadest sense, with teacher preparation, practice and policy issues related to the teaching profession, as well as being concerned with learning in the school setting. The journal also serves as a forum for the exchange of diverse ideas and points of view within these purposes. As a forum, the journal offers a public space in which to critically examine current discourse and practice as well as engage in generative dialogue. Alternative forms of inquiry and representation are invited, and authors from a variety of backgrounds and diverse perspectives are encouraged to contribute. Teacher Education & Practice is published by Rowman & Littlefield.

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15 Articles

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Editorial: Prepare and Inspire Teachers—Whither STEM Literacy in the Preparation of Teachers?

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PATRICK M. JENLINK

STEM literacy is an interdisciplinary area of study that bridges the four areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. STEM literacy does not simply mean achieving literacy in these four strands or silos. Consequently, a STEM classroom shifts students away from learning discrete bits and pieces of phenomenon and rote procedures and toward having investigating and questioning the interrelated facets of the world.

—National Governors Association (2007, p. 7)

In the 2010 report to the president titled Prepare and Inspire: K–12 Education in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) for America’s Future, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2010) advanced the need for a two-pronged strategy for transforming K–12 education. The strategy stated the need to prepare students so that they have a strong foundation in STEM subjects and are able to use this knowledge in their personal and professional lives.

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The Complexities and Challenges Associated With the Implementation of a STEM Curriculum

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KRISTA A. HOLSTEIN AND KAREN ALLEN KEENE

ABSTRACT: There have been recent calls for the integration of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) in K–12 education. In this collective case study, we describe three teachers’ implementations of a new STEM curriculum that integrates mathematics, engineering, and technology. These teachers ranged in their faithfulness to the curriculum authors’ intentions. The common conceptions that influenced teachers’ implementations were (1) negative beliefs about students and their abilities (e.g., “my students can’t do that”), which caused teachers to stray from the authors’ intended curriculum; (2) non-traditional beliefs about teaching, which caused teachers to use pedagogical techniques similar to those envisioned by the curriculum authors; and (3) a lack of subject matter knowledge, which caused one teacher to create a teacher-centered classroom that went against the authors’ pedagogical intentions. Overall, this study illustrated how intricate and involved the implementation of a STEM curriculum can be.

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Using Critical Experiences to Build Understanding of Science Teacher Educators’ Pedagogical Knowledge

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REBECCA COOPER

ABSTRACT: The purpose of the reported research was to build understanding of science teacher educators’ (STEs’) development of pedagogical knowledge (PK) using critical experiences (CEs). It further investigated the role of CEs in developing PK for STEs, the ways that STEs’ notions of PK develop and change over their careers, and the dispositions necessary to developing an understanding of PK for science teacher education. Eight STEs from six Australian universities identified CEs from their careers during an interview (all worked as secondary school science teachers before becoming STEs). Interview transcripts were combined with notes from participants to form cases, which were analyzed to identify categories of CEs and themes for each participant. Morine-Dershimer and Kent’s 1999 model of PK was used to help explain shifts and changes in thinking and teaching practice that participants’ CEs revealed. The research indicates that individual themes are important and that dispositions help to identify participants’ beliefs and attitudes that are in operation to assist with developing PK.

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MORE for Teachers: A Program for Science Teacher Preparation

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MATTHEW MILLER, CHRIS OHANA, AND DANIEL HANLEY

ABSTRACT: This article summarizes how a group of undergraduate regional university faculty built a program for rigorous and research-based science teacher preparation at the elementary level—namely, the “Model of Research-Based Education for Teachers” (MORE for Teachers). First, we discuss the research upon which the program is built: (1) a preparation infrastructure that includes rigorous content, focused teaching methods, and integrated field experiences with an emphasis on quality mentoring from cooperating teachers and (2) a conceptual framework for how people learn science. Next, we describe how our science teacher education program is grounded in these two research-driven strands. The article concludes with a description of a 5-year longitudinal study, funded by the National Science Foundation, that is researching the impact of these components of effective science teacher preparation.

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A STEM-Focused Elementary Teacher Preparation Program: Candidate and Alumni Perceptions

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ELLEN MCINTYRE, TEMPLE WALKOWIAK, MARGARETA THOMSON, SARAH CARRIER, CARRIE LEE, ELIZABETH GREIVE, REBECCA A. ZULLI, MICHAEL J. MAHER, AND DANIELL DIFRANCESCA

ABSTRACT: To address shortfalls in the preparation and achievement of U.S. students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), instruction in these areas must begin in the elementary grades, as early as kindergarten (American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, 2007; Natural Academy of Sciences, 2007; National Research Council, 2000). The urgent need for improvement in the teaching of STEM content to young children led one university in the Southeast to create a STEM-focused elementary teacher preparation program. This exemplary program—called ATOMS (Accomplished Teachers of Mathematics and Science)—is characterized by four key features: program coherence; rigor in the general education program; innovative, conceptually focused methods courses; and extensive fieldwork aligned with coursework. This article describes the features of this highly scalable program in detail, illustrated through participant reflections and contextualized in the research literature on effective teacher education programs.

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Enacting STEM in Teacher Development: Toward a Coherent Model of Teacher Preparation

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RACHEL RUGGIRELLO AND PHYLLIS BALCERZAK

ABSTRACT: Various iterations of STEM have been in the forefront of national educational reform of science and math teaching over the last two decades. Most recently, STEM is being viewed as the integration of the sciences, math, technology, and engineering to solve authentic problems, rather than an individual collection of related subjects. This approach to educating students about core STEM subjects requires teachers who have expertise in content, pedagogy, and the integration of STEM content. This chapter discusses the complexity of issues that emerged during STEM programs designed for teachers in a university and two K–12 middle schools. Common themes are analyzed for implications to teacher preparation and professional development programs. The article concludes with the description of an approach to STEM teacher preparation that calls for (1) a reorganization of the knowledge base from the STEM disciplines and (2) professional learning programs that emphasize collaborative processes and links between content.

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Curricular and Pedagogical Imperatives for Fostering Effective STEM Teacher Preparation

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CARYN M. KING, PAULA E. LANCASTER, NANCY L. DEFRANCE, JACQUELYN A. MELIN, AND ROSEMARY CLEVELAND

ABSTRACT: This article describes a unique approach to developing and delivering the curriculum for an experimental program that prepares STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduates for teaching in high-needs secondary schools. The context for the collaborative design—including the charge, personnel, and purpose of the program—is briefly described, followed by the process used to determine the program’s conceptual framework. A brief description of the curriculum and its delivery is explained, including the “rotations” aspect of each course, which plays a significant role in STEM teacher preparation. The objectives for each rotation are identified, and the settings in which rotations occurred are described. The article concludes with a discussion of the STEM graduates’ views about the extent to which rotations foster pedagogical content knowledge in novice teacher candidates.

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Preparing Secondary STEM Teachers for High-Need Schools: Challenges of an Urban Residency Program

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RUBÉN GARZA, ELLEN L. DUCHAINE, AND RAYMOND REYNOSA

ABSTRACT: Teaching residency programs that blend coursework with clinical experiences have emerged nationwide to prepare aspiring teachers for the demanding reality of teaching in high-need urban schools. The Teaching Residency Program for Critical Shortage Areas was created to help urban school districts with the challenge of recruiting and retaining highly qualified STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) teachers. The purpose of our study was to examine the residency program to gain an understanding of the aspects that may have impeded and contributed to the development of aspiring teachers. Three themes emerged from data analysis: curriculum design, navigating the dissonance between theory and practice, and recruiting mentors and residents. Teacher residents’ voices in our study provided an authentic account of how a residency program influenced their development. This study has the potential to inform other teacher preparation programs by identifying the challenges associated with the implementation of a residency program.

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Examining the Views of Undergraduate STEM Majors Regarding K–12 Teaching as a Profession

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MARGARET PLECKI, ELISE ST. JOHN, AND ANA ELFERS

ABSTRACT: This study explores how undergraduates enrolled in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses view the K–12 teaching profession. A survey was conducted with a sample of undergraduates in community college and university settings (n = 610). We examine whether undergraduates believe that teaching offers what they value in a career; we inquire about factors that shape their perceptions about teaching; and we explore their views on whether specific recruitment policy strategies would encourage them to consider teaching as a career. Results include the finding that undergraduates view some proposals, such as college loan forgiveness and higher starting salaries, more favorably than others, such as performance-based pay. Differences also exist among students majoring in mathematics and science as compared to engineering. Concerns were raised about a perceived lack of intellectual challenge and a desire to remain actively engaged in research, and some noted confusion about the process of becoming a teacher. The article concludes with implications for policy and practices.

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Participating in Change: Mentor Teachers’ Perceptions of the Effectiveness of a Science Teacher Residency Program

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NANETTE I. MARCUM-DIETRICH, OLIVER DREON, AND TIM MAHONEY

ABSTRACT: The goal of this 4-year study was to investigate the implementation of a secondary science professional development school at a midsized, publicly funded 4-year institution with a large college of education. The study focuses on the preparation of secondary science teachers because improving STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education is a national priority. According to the Program for International Student Assessment, the United States routinely performs in the “middle of the pack” in science, with less than one-third of eighth graders deemed proficient in math and science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Addressing this challenge is multifaceted, with increased focus on improved preparation and retention of excellent STEM teachers. The professional development school teacher-training model that was employed in this study involved a restructuring of the undergraduate science teacher program, where science content courses are taken in Years 1–3 along with two foundational education courses. The fourth year of the undergraduate program is reserved for a full-year teacher residency program supported by pedagogical coursework. This study focused on mentor teachers’ reflections on the effectiveness of the professional development school model.

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Changing Mathematics Teaching Practices and Improving Student Outcomes Through Collaborative Evaluation

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KELLI THOMAS

ABSTRACT: This longitudinal study examines the effects of a collaborative evaluation process on mathematics instruction and student outcomes in an elementary school serving a low-resource community. Thirty-two elementary teachers participated in a 3-year collaborative evaluation professional development process that contributed to improved mathematics teaching and student learning. Through critical-incidents analysis of qualitative data and through comparisons of means from quantitative survey data per analysis of variance, changes in teachers’ practices were found after participation in long-term inquiry. The collaborative evaluation professional development process is described. Through this collaborative evaluation approach, teachers were able to make data-based decisions, take a leadership role in their daily work, and move toward using evidence to develop shared values and norms. They in turn used the evidence to making teaching and learning more deliberate.

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“Real Teaching” in the Mathematics Classroom: A Comparison of the Instructional Practices of Elementary Teachers in Urban High-Poverty Schools

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SUEANNE E. MCKINNEY, JACK ROBINSON, AND CLAIR T. BERUBE

ABSTRACT: The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics’ Principles and Standards for School Mathematics outlines fundamental elements that are crucial for creating a problem-solving and inquiry-driven classroom learning environment that highlights conceptual understandings of mathematics ideas. Even though this document outlines essential goals for the improvement of mathematics education, many urban high-poverty school environments continue to fall short in their implementation. As such, the research team investigated the mathematics instructional practices of star teachers and those not so identified. Based on a chi-square test for independence, the results revealed that star teachers demonstrate those instructional practices advocated by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics more frequently than do those teachers not so identified.

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Teacher Engagement in STEM for Sustainability Education: Lessons for Teacher Educators

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SYBIL S. KELLEY

ABSTRACT: With the recent interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), educators have begun to rethink how these disciplines are taught. Beyond redesigning curricula and core standards, an educational culture is emerging that reexamines the purpose of STEM education and whom it serves. To ensure that all learners are inspired and prepared for success in STEM, we need to break down traditional boundaries, establishing partnerships across institutions (e.g., universities and school districts) and within institutions (e.g., teacher education and STEM departments). Teacher education programs can support improvements in STEM literacy by providing relevant, meaningful learning experiences that help teachers develop confidence and competency in STEM. These programs need to incorporate time for teachers to learn content and apply their new understandings into curricular plans. Teachers need to be active participants in their learning as they develop knowledge, skills, and dispositions related to students, learning, curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment.

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Transforming Teacher Preparation to Ensure Long-Term Improvement in STEM Teaching

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JAMES HIEBERT

ABSTRACT: An alternative mathematics preparation program for K–8 teachers is described as an existence proof that steadily increasing effectiveness of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) preparation is possible. The program is based on treating every lesson in each of five mathematics content and methods courses as objects of study. Increasing performance from cohort to cohort of K–8 preservice teachers of mathematics-for-teaching tasks is explained by the increasing knowledge acquired over time for helping preser-vice teachers achieve lesson-level learning goals. Arguments are offered for the potential of this kind of program to strengthen, in a lasting way, the STEM education of preservice teachers and their motivation to study and improve their own teaching practice over time.

In this article, I propose a system of teacher preparation that directly addresses the two-pronged challenge of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (2010) applied to teacher education: to prepare teachers with strong STEM education and to inspire graduates to continue studying STEM subjects and become increasingly effective teachers. The system that I propose is strikingly different from most current programs in the United States, but it is based on principles that underlie pockets of success in the country and are key to the success of STEM education for some of our foreign competitors, especially several Asian countries.

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Book Review

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(Boston: Sense, 2011), 140 pp., $28.80 (paperback), ISBN-13: 978-9-4609-1688-5

KAREN EMBRY JENLINK

Many college professors who teach science and mathematics education begin their careers in the annals of high school classrooms before moving into the realm of college teaching, but that is not the case for Richard Steinberg, professor of physics and science education at City College of New York. After 20 years of college teaching, Dr. Steinberg took a year’s sabbatical to teach physics in an urban high school in New Your City. An Inquiry Into Science Education: Where the Rubber Meets the Road is Dr. Steinberg’s recounting of his first-year teaching experiences in which he grappled to understand how students learn and understand science (or fail to).

With humor, irony, and alarming clarity, Steinberg recounts his real-life teaching experiences in a style of storytelling that engages and transports the reader immediately into his physics classroom at Urban High School (UHS). As specific learning encounters during his sabbatical from the ivory tower unfold, Steinberg effectively narrates compelling vignettes that glimpse the nature of conversations between teacher and student during physics lessons focused on science inquiry.

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