ERIC Number: EJ1074580
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Abstractor: As Provided
Grappling with Long-term Learning in Science: A Qualitative Study of Teachers' Views of Developmentally Oriented Instruction
Shemwell, Jonathan T.; Avargil, Shirly; Capps, Daniel K.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v52 n8 p1163-1187 Oct 2015
The shift in science education toward deeper, more integrated learning of domain content and scientific practices requires that teachers steer clear of strategies that promote the steady accumulation of more superficial knowledge and capabilities. Instead, teachers must invest in a continuous and gradual process of long-term growth in students' capacity to think and act scientifically. Scholars call this investment taking a developmental approach to learning. It stands to reason that developmental approaches would involve teachers in different ways of thinking about instruction compared to short-term, accumulation approaches. Yet, little is understood about these potentially new ways of thinking (for us, "views"). Therefore, we conducted a qualitative study to describe and illustrate ways in which teachers' views of instruction can be developmental. The study was based on interviews with 12 teachers about their experiences of using a curriculum that was developmentally oriented in that it prioritized gradual deepening of intellectual capacity. Selecting three teachers whose views of teaching and learning offered maximum contrast in their degree of developmental orientation, we analyzed their interview transcripts to reveal essential characteristics of a developmental view of instruction in our context. When taking a developmental view, teachers (i) saw students as learning to be scientists; (ii) prioritized big ideas; (iii) saw learning as immersion; and (iv) expected gradual improvement. We combined these elements to propose a general model for a developmental view of teaching and learning: believing in transformative outcomes and investing in the process of gradual change. We argue that these findings provide useful and informative ideas for understanding ways in which teachers can effectively approach instruction in the current era of reform.
Descriptors: Science Education, Science Teachers, Interviews, Qualitative Research, Teaching Methods, Student Development, Learning Processes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: DRL-0962805