ERIC Number: EJ1092888
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Special Education Teachers' Nature of Science Instructional Experiences
Mulvey, Bridget K.; Chiu, Jennifer L.; Ghosh, Rajlakshmi; Bell, Randy L.
Journal of Research in Science Teaching, v53 n4 p554-578 Apr 2016
Special education teachers provide critical science instruction to students. However, little research investigates special education teacher beliefs and practices around science in general or the nature of science and inquiry in particular. This investigation is a cross-case analysis of four elementary special education teachers' initial semester-long professional development experiences learning about and attempting to implement nature of science and inquiry instruction. Participants were purposively selected from a larger study of 61 pre-K-5 teachers from one mid-Atlantic urban school district. Data sources included pre/postsurveys, video recordings of lessons, teachers' guided reflections through time, and a postcourse interview. Results demonstrated that all participants improved their nature of science conceptions, explicitly addressed nature of science tenets during instruction, and taught via inquiry. Further, they moved beyond simply mimicking course lessons they experienced by adapting them to student needs and even innovating new lessons. Teachers increased their attention to plans and instruction to meet the needs of students with special needs; yet most of the teachers made few references to specific Individualized Education Programs, individual student needs, or associated instructional decisions. Results suggest that nature of science and inquiry professional development can increase special education teachers' expectations of their students with special needs. To improve outcomes, professional development should increase the explicit attention to planning and strategies to help meet specific student needs. Also, special and general education teachers in inclusion settings can benefit from support with the negotiation of their roles.
Descriptors: Special Education, Special Education Teachers, Science Instruction, Teacher Attitudes, Teaching Methods, Scientific Principles, Elementary School Teachers, Faculty Development, Inquiry, Urban Schools, Pretests Posttests, Surveys, Video Technology, Interviews
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Sponsor: Department of Education (ED)
Authoring Institution: N/A