Supporting Intermediate Teachers' Implementation of the NGSS Through a Collaboration Based on Mutuality
Imported from ProQuest Swanson_ilstu_0092E_11261.pdf
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are based on a wealth of research on science education and student learning and written by a range of experts from relevant fields. This study is significant and timely, given the recent release of these standards which are designed to build a scientifically literate and productive society. The potential impact on K-12 students rests on the shoulders of educational professionals in the schools. The elementary level presents a unique set of challenges for quality science instruction, implicating a need for classroom support to address limiting factors. The scope of the study is narrow; a case study approach focused this exploration on a single unit of study- the implementation of an NGSS-aligned unit of instruction at one intermediate school. The proposed research questions set the stage to explore how coaching as a delivery of on-going, embedded teacher support can facilitate the transfer of the NGSS from paper to practice; these questions also explored how reform-based initiatives in science can impact teacher perspectives and practices and student learning outcomes. Findings suggest that coaching in science for intermediate teachers that is based on a collaborative partnership supports teachers' shift toward reform-based science teaching which influenced student outcomes. Having a team of educational professionals join forces with a common goal effectively addressed limiting factors present in the research setting. While the coaching approach to professional development (PD) reflected most of the features indicative of high-quality PD, within the school district of the research setting, this collaboration was an isolated case of PD in science. In order for changes in teacher practice and student learning to be sustainable and proliferate, support for practitioners must extend beyond one unit of instruction.