Professional development for teachers of science requires integrating knowledge of science, learning, pedagogy, and students; it also requires applying that knowledge to science teaching. Learning experiences for teachers of science must
Connect and integrate all pertinent aspects of science and science education.
Occur in a variety of places where effective science teaching can be illustrated and modeled, permitting teachers to struggle with real situations and expand their knowledge and skills in appropriate contexts.
Address teachers' needs as learners and build on their current knowledge of science content, teaching, and learning.
Use inquiry, reflection, interpretation of research, modeling, and guided practice to build understanding and skill in science teaching.
Effective science teaching is more than knowing science content and some teaching strategies. Skilled teachers of science have special understandings and abilities that integrate their knowledge of science content, curriculum, learning, teaching, and students. Such knowledge allows teachers to tailor learning situations to the needs of individuals and groups. This special knowledge, called "pedagogical content knowledge," distinguishes the science knowledge of teachers from that of scientists. It is one element that defines a professional teacher of science.
[See the principle Learning science is an active process in Chapter 2]
[See Teaching Standard B]
In addition to solid knowledge of science, teachers of science must have a firm grounding in learning theory—understanding how learning occurs and is facilitated. Learning is an active process by which students individually and collaboratively achieve understanding. Effective teaching requires that teachers know what students of certain ages are likely to know, understand, and be able to do; what they will learn quickly; and what will be a struggle. Teachers of science need to anticipate typical misunderstandings and to
Skilled teachers of science have special understandings and abilities that integrate their knowledge of science content, curriculum, learning, teaching, and students.
judge the appropriateness of concepts for the developmental level of their students. In addition, teachers of science must develop understanding of how students with different backgrounds, experiences, motivations, learning styles, abilities, and interests learn science. Teachers use all of that knowledge to make effective decisions about learning objectives, teaching strategies, assessment tasks, and curriculum materials.
[See Program Standard B]
Effective teachers of science also have a broad repertoire of instructional strategies that engage students in multiple ways. They are familiar with a wide range of curricula. They have the ability to examine critically and select activities to use with their students to promote the understanding of science.