ERIC Number: ED417960
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Nov
The Effect of a Teacher Enhancement Project Designed To Promote Interactive-Constructivist Teaching Strategies in Elementary School Science on Students' Perceptions and Attitudes.
Dunkhase, John A.; Hand, Brian M.; Shymansky, James A.; Yore, Larry D.
This study takes place within the context of the Science: Parents, Activities, and Literature (Science PALS) project and examines elementary school students' reactions to instruction implemented by teachers participating in this special problem-centered professional development program. The study focuses on student perceptions of their science instruction and student attitudes toward science learning as a function of their exposure to interactive, constructivist teaching strategies designed to focus on student ideas, utilization of literature connections, and incorporation of parents as partners. Using student perceptions and attitudes as dependent variables, teacher participation as the main independent variable, and grade levels and student gender as blocking factors, questions were answered pertaining to variations in attitudes and perceptions between students in Science PALS and non-Science PALS classrooms, grade level variations in attitudes and perceptions, and variations by gender in attitudes and perceptions. Results indicate that the Science PALs appeared to be more influential at the grade 3-6 level than at the grade 1-2 level. Results also indicate that the strategies used in Science PALs are similar to those used by most grade 1-2 teachers (i.e., using literature-based instruction, listening to children's ideas, using small-groups discussion, etc.) but different from the standard approaches in grades 3-6. The gender differences favored the female students for all perceptions of science teaching, while the differences favored the male students for all attitudes toward science learning (except "nature of science"). It is concluded that the impact of the Science PALs approach will not be fully realized until the compound effects are explored as children have multiple exposures to the treatment over their elementary school years. Twenty-one data tables are appended. Contains 13 references. (DDR)
Descriptors: College Curriculum, Constructivism (Learning), Course Content, Educational Change, Elementary Education, Elementary School Science, Hands on Science, Higher Education, Inquiry, Inservice Teacher Education, Professional Development, Science Curriculum, Science Education, Student Attitudes
Publication Type: Numerical/Quantitative Data; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation, Arlington, VA.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the School Science and Mathematics Conference (Milwaukee, WI, November 13-15, 1997).