ERIC Number: EJ1051598
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Abstractor: As Provided
Studying Teachers' Sensemaking to Investigate Teachers' Responses to Professional Development Focused on New Standards
Allen, Carrie D.; Penuel, William R.
Journal of Teacher Education, v66 n2 p136-149 Mar-Apr 2015
Recent research on teacher professional development (PD) underscores the importance of the coherence of PD with standards, curriculum, and assessment. Teachers' judgments of the coherence of PD with larger system goals influence their decisions about what ideas and resources they appropriate from PD. Little research, however, has examined how teachers formulate these judgments and why teachers' judgments vary within the same system and for the same reform. In this article, we use organizational theory's concept of "sensemaking" to examine teachers' responses to PD related to the "Next Generation Science Standards" within two schools in the United States. Our study shows that teachers' perceptions of coherence emerge from interactions within PD, associated curriculum materials, and with colleagues and leaders in their schools. Some teachers, we found, were able to manage ambiguity, uncertainty, and perceived incoherence productively, while others foreclosed deep and sustained sensemaking. Our findings suggest the need for PD to engage teachers in sustained sensemaking activity around issues of perceived incoherence to bolster teachers' emergent understandings of standards and improve the likelihood of implementing instructional practices aligned to standards.
Descriptors: Teacher Attitudes, Perception, Professional Development, Academic Standards, Organizational Theories, Science Education, Educational Policy, Case Studies, Science Curriculum, Educational Practices, Middle Schools, Educational Objectives
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Sponsor: National Science Foundation
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL-1020407