Inquiry into practice is essential for effective teaching. Teachers need continuous opportunities to do so. Through collaborations with colleagues, teachers should
Teachers use their knowledge to make effective decisions about learning objectives, teaching strategies, assessment tasks, and curriculum materials.
inquire into their own practice by posing questions such as the following:
How should laboratory journals be structured?
Is this experiment appropriate for the understanding and ability of the students?
What type of research do students need to do to extend their understanding?
Is this curriculum unit appropriate for this group of third-grade students?
Does a particular study allow students sufficient opportunity to devise their own experiments?
Are all students participating equally?
[See Teaching Standard C]
Assessment is an important tool for good inquiry into teaching. In the daily operation of their classrooms, skilled teachers of science are diagnosticians who understand students' ideas, beliefs, and reasoning. Effective teachers are knowledgeable about the various educational purposes for assessment and know how to implement and interpret a variety of assessment strategies.
[See Teaching Standards D and E]
Skilled teachers of science also know how to create and manage the physical, social, and intellectual environment in a classroom community of science learners.
Developing pedagogical content knowledge of science requires that teachers of science have the opportunity to bring together the knowledge described above and develop an integrated view of what it means to teach and learn science. The teaching standards in Chapter 3 are designed to guide teachers' decisions about each of the complex activities involved in teaching science. In the vision described by the Standards, teachers also develop concepts and language to engage in discourse with their peers about content, curriculum, teaching, learning, assessment, and students.
The development of pedagogical content knowledge by teachers mirrors what we know about learning by students; it can be fully developed only through continuous experience. But experience is not sufficient. Teachers also must have opportunities to engage in analysis of the individual components of pedagogical content knowledge—science, learning, and pedagogy—and make connections between them.
[See Professional Development Standard D]
In this vision, people responsible for professional development work together with each other and with teachers as they integrate their knowledge and experiences. For example, higher education science and education faculty must learn to work together: An instructor in a university science course might invite a member of the science education faculty to participate in regular discussion time designed to help students reflect on how they came to learn science concepts. Not only must the departments in higher education institutions work together, but schools and higher education institutions must enter into true collaboration. And