education may involve longer term, intensive, paid or unpaid internships. In some teacher education programs, field experiences also may begin well before the senior year or be scheduled during a fifth undergraduate year.

Induction Phase

Encompasses the first years of teaching after a student completes a preservice teacher education program (commonly the first one to three years of teaching). A great deal of research points to the induction phase or period as critical in a new teacher’s decision to continue in or leave the profession.


Although used in different ways by different authors, most generally refers to the myriad ways in which scientists study nature and propose explanations for natural phenomena based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also can refer to the abilities that students and teachers need to develop to be able to design and conduct scientific investigations. It also refers to the kinds of understandings they develop about the nature of science and how scientific investigation is undertaken. “Inquiry” also can refer to approaches and strategies for teaching and learning that enable learners to master scientific concepts as a result of carrying out scientific investigations.

For further information about the nature and role of inquiry in teaching and learning, see National Research Council (2000b).

Inservice Education

The professional development programs that are offered to practicing classroom teachers. There is little agreement about what should constitute inservice education. Programs range from workshops held as part of teacher professional development days during the school year to formal courses offered by peers or at colleges and universities.

Lower Division Course

A course offered by a college or university that typically would be taken by first or second year undergraduate students.

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