practice, colleagues, supervisors, self-reflection on teaching, and reflection on the learning of students in the classroom. Teachers continually consider and contribute to the advances in the knowledge base of teaching and learning.
From their first days considering teaching as a profession through their entire careers, teachers of science develop the skills to analyze their learning needs and styles through self-reflection and active solicitation of feedback from others. They must have the skills to use tools and techniques for self-assessment (such as journal writing, study groups, and portfolios) and collaborative reflection strategies (such as peer coaching, mentoring, and peer consulting). Teachers of science should be able to use the Standards and district expectations to set personal goals and take responsibility for their own professional development.
Learning is a developmental process that takes time and often is hard work. As does any professional, teachers of science will stumble, wrestle, and ponder, while realizing that failure is a natural part of developing new skills and understanding. However, effective teachers know how to access research-based resources and, when faced with a learning need, pursue new knowledge and skills that are based on research or effective practice. Teachers of science need to develop the skills to conduct research in their classrooms on science teaching and learning and be able to share their results with others.
The integrated knowledge needed to teach science well is developed over time. Thus, the acquisition of the skills for continuous learning should be an explicit component of all learning experiences.
As lifelong learners, teachers need to reflect on their experiences and have techniques and the time to do so. Preservice courses must allocate time to teach prospective teachers techniques for reflection, and practicing teachers must be given opportunities to develop these skills as well. Many techniques for reflection on practice are available, and their use is becoming more widespread. Self-reflection tools such as journals, audiotapes or videotapes, and portfolios allow teachers to capture their teaching, track their development over time, analyze their progress, and identify needs for further learning. Other techniques include peer observation, coaching, and mentoring beginning teachers in either structured or unstructured settings. Teachers also need opportunities to form study groups or hold less-formal sharing sessions.
Continuous learning is an active process that will require different norms from those that are presently operative in colleges and in schools: norms of experimentation and risk-taking, of trust and collegial support, and, most relevant to science, of careful and dedicated inquiry. Schools in which risk-taking is encouraged will provide learning communities for adults as well as for students. Other learning environments that can provide such conditions are professional networks—collegial groups where teachers