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ERIC Number: ED559858
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 178
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-2886-2
Examining the Impact of a Professional Development Course on STEM Teachers' Acceptance of and Intent to Implement Problem-Based Learning
Mong, Christopher J.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Purdue University
In order to improve STEM education, as well as incorporate 21st century skills, teacher education programs are in the process of finding better ways to address these areas (Trilling & Fadel, 2009). New teachers entering the workforce are prepared mostly to teach content the way they were taught (Alger, 2009; Eick & Reed, 2002; Goodnough & Cashion, 2006). In addition, many are beginning their careers having only a theoretical view of inquiry and not understanding what inquiry looks like in the real world, making it even harder to recreate this approach in their classrooms (Crawford, Zembal-Saul, Munford et al., 2005, Eick & Reed, 2002). Professional development has an important role to play, but without active and sustained involvement in exploring and creating inquiry-based methods, meaningful reflection on personal pedagogies, and observing or working with peer teachers, professional development is not likely to be successful at creating lasting changes in teaching strategies (Garet et al., 2001; James & McCormick, 2009; Lee, Cawthon, & Dawson, 2013; Posnanski, 2002). In the current study, both in-service and pre-service teachers attended a professional development course meant to model and support inquiry-based teaching and learning in STEM content areas. The inquiry-based approach practiced in the course was problem-based learning (PBL), and the STEM content was that of the conversion of biomass to biofuels. The course was designed to immerse the teachers in a real research project, model inquiry-based instruction and learning using PBL, and encourage the teachers to reflect on these experiences while they created their own PBL-based units about biofuels. Results from pre-post surveys, course projects, daily reflections, and a follow-up survey seven months after the end of the course indicated that both pre-service and in-service teachers tended to benefit from the course. Confidence for implementing PBL components tended to increase, though this increase was most pronounced for in-service teachers when compared to pre-service teachers. Nine out of 16 teachers in the course indicated that they had already implemented PBL in their classrooms by the time of the follow-up survey, and the other four teachers who responded indicated a high intent to implement it in the future. The teachers found the modeling and peer interaction in the course to be the most useful. Most dissatisfaction came from the requirement that team units be created using the topic of biofuels. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A