teaching standards first, before turning to the remaining standards.
The science teaching standards describe what teachers of science at all grade levels should know and be able to do. They are divided into six areas:
The planning of inquiry-based science programs.
The actions taken to guide and facilitate student learning.
The assessments made of teaching and student learning.
The development of environments that enable students to learn science.
The creation of communities of science learners.
The planning and development of the school science program.
Effective teaching is at the heart of science education, which is why the science teaching standards are presented first. Good teachers of science create environments in which they and their students work together as active learners. They have continually expanding theoretical and practical knowledge about science, learning, and science teaching. They use assessments of students and of their own teaching to plan and conduct their teaching. They build strong, sustained relationships with students that are grounded in their knowledge of students' similarities and differences. And they are active as members of science-learning communities.
In each of these areas, teachers need support from the rest of the educational system if they are to achieve the objectives embodied in the Standards. Schools, districts, local communities, and states need to provide teachers with the necessary resources—including time, appropriate numbers of students per teacher, materials, and schedules. For teachers to design and implement new ways of teaching and learning science, the practices, policies, and overall culture of most schools must change. Such reforms cannot be accomplished on a piecemeal or ad hoc basis.
Considerations of equity are critical in the science teaching standards. All students are capable of full participation and of making meaningful contributions in science classes. The diversity of students' needs, experiences, and backgrounds requires that teachers and schools support varied, high-quality opportunities for all students to learn science.
The professional development standards present a vision for the development of professional knowledge and skill among teachers. They focus on four areas:
The learning of science content through inquiry.
The integration of knowledge about science with knowledge about learning, pedagogy, and students.
The development of the understanding and ability for lifelong learning.