If You Build It…..Constructing valuable field experiences for PST

1. State the focus of the workshop and its relevance to the ASTE membership.

This workshop will focus on presenting, sharing and discussing effective science field experiences for preservice teachers. Developing field experiences that support preservice teachers (PSTs) to excel in science teaching is a complex endeavor (Abell, 2006; O’Connor & Sharp, 2013; Varma & Hanuscin, 2008). Science teachers at all levels need to have deep understandings of science content and science pedagogy including effectively using inquiry teaching and learning, designing activities, assessing student knowledge and attending to appropriate standards in the field (Anderson, 2007; National Research Council, 2007; NSTA, 2012). For PSTs the process of learning how to teach science is further complicated by their documented resistance to teaching in ways that are different from what they themselves experienced (Varma & Hanuscin, 2008). Because PSTs’ experiences were often teacher-centered, memorization-focused and lacking in connection to the real world work of scientists, an approach that advocates for inquiry and student centered teaching can be difficult for PSTs to embrace, let alone do. While there is no magic bullet for science teacher preparation, a program that positions the field experiences as critical is more likely to prepare effective teachers (AACTE, 2014; Grossman, 2010). The authors will share their current work in this area, which includes presentations at the last two ASTE meetings. Different types of field experiences with different innovations and foci will be discussed (e.g., elementary, secondary, after school, informal settings, culturally relevant teaching, international experiences, etc.).
Following a presentation of current work in the field, participants will be placed in break out groups to discuss their own ideas, practices and questions. Results from these break-out groups will help us identify 1) what’s working and 2) what problems exist in this area. A recorder will be designated within each small group to take notes of their discussions and ideas which will be utilized to frame our continued work in this area, particularly for a potential monograph or special edition targeting field expeditions in science education.

2. Include an outline of the workshop that shows the sequence and duration of workshop activities.
30 minutes – interactive presentation of current work in the field, including CAEP standards for effective field experiences.
30 minutes – break out groups that discuss current practices, innovative ideas and dilemmas with a designated recorder in each group to capture the discussion
20 minutes – groups share out and organize ideas presented
10 minutes – wrap up and next steps including discussion about possible monograph/special journal edition for ASTE

3. List the learning objectives of the workshop, briefly describe the instructional strategies you will be using, and how you will judge the effectiveness of your workshop.

Learning objectives include: understanding what the criteria are for effective field experiences across all areas (using CAEP as a foundation); obstacles encountered in developing and implementing effective field experiences; beginning strategies for assessing the effectiveness of science field experiences; networking with other science educators who focus on developing, using and assessing field-based science methods work. Most of the instructional strategies will be small group discussion but we will prepare handouts and online resources for the participants to access during and after the session. Following the session we will have evaluation forms. One goal is to develop a proposal for an ASTE monograph or special journal issue that focuses on this work. Generating a list of potential contributors is one goal of the session.

4. Will you make yourself available to the participants after they return to their places of employment should they have questions or need assistance? How will you do this?

Yes we will all be available. We will distribute our contact information and key points of the opening presentation at the session and encourage participants to stay connected. Additionally, since one goal of the workshop is a formal publication of the work we will invite interested colleagues to participate in this process.

5. Explain who within the ASTE membership would be most interested in your presentation (e.g., methods instructors, educational researchers, curriculum developers, etc.) and why.

Any science educator who is interested in field experience work to better prepare teachers would be interested in this session. Even for those who are not interested in participating in a publication, sharing ideas and listening to others discuss their successes and struggles with field-based work will be a professional development opportunity.

6. Describe the expertise/experience of the workshop presenters to present in the topic area.

All three of the presenters are experiences science methods instructors and have presented and/or published on this work over the last 5 years.

7. Provide a budget for the workshop indicating the amount (if any) each participant will be charged. What is the number of people the workshop is intended to serve? If there is a cost for attendance, please specify how this money will be used. Indicate the material and technological needs for this workshop. What are the texts, handouts, videos, etc., required in order to implement this session?

There would be no budget necessary. We would anticipate anywhere from 10-30 people but could easily accommodate more with more small groups. All handouts and resource materials will be prepared by the presenters. A projector would be required for the beginning presentation.