Focus on Science Teacher Education
Every year, science teacher educators from around the country come together at the ASTE annual conference. One of the main benefits of the time, resources, and energy spent holding this meeting is bringing us together in the same space to learn with and from one another. This space is important because so many of us face multiple levels of isolation. Some of us may be the only science teacher educator at our institutions or the only person teaching a specific course at our institution. Even if we are not in isolation, all of us need the opportunity to learn from other science teacher educators. This is especially true because professional development for teacher educators is rare or non-existent in most contexts (Smith & Flores, 2019), and preparation for teaching teachers is not always an explicit component of doctoral preparation (Abell et al., 2009). Since publication of the ASTE Position Statement on Professional Knowledge Standards for Science Teacher Educators in 1997, there has been little collective action by the field to further articulate the key knowledge domains necessary for science teacher educators to be successful, nor to design professional development to support science teacher educators in developing that knowledge. With the recent release of the 2020 NSTA/ASTE Standards for Science Teacher Preparation, science teacher educators are in need of tools and resources to address these standards.
Methods courses naturally vary depending on the context of the institution and teacher preparation program. Within these contexts, differences exist in the number of science methods courses that are required for prospective teachers, and whether or not these courses have embedded field experiences. Similarly, the pedagogical content knowledge situated within the methods courses can vary from only science content with minimal methods; science content alongside science methods; science and math methods; STEM methods, etc. All of these differences lead to a wide range of variance in what is taught and potentially by novice teachers. Typically, new ideas are piloted in our methods courses and old ideas are either improved upon or discarded without record. The knowledge and ideas that are produced in this process are largely lost due to our isolation. The same will be true of the knowledge being generated as science teacher educators seek to provide high-quality and equitable learning experiences online, whether or not they have a choice in the matter (e.g. as emergency remote teaching, or as a planned fully online or hybrid course). Hence, we offer Methods for Secondary Science Education Methods to bring together the collective expertise of ASTE for nurturing the next generation of secondary (middle grades and high school) science teachers and their educators.
Relevance to ASTE Membership
This proposed workshop will be of interest to members who prepare middle grades or high school science teachers in any kind of initial licensure program. This workshop may also interest members who work with teachers wanting professional learning experiences to help tackle the new pedagogical challenges of hybrid or online science courses.
Expertise of Presenters
The presenters of this workshop represent a diverse cross-section of the many science teacher educators who work with future middle grades and high school science teachers. We represent multiple ASTE regions, career tracks (from experienced high school teacher to full professor), science content areas, and various types of teacher education programs.
Ryan Summers is an assistant professor of science education at University of North Dakota (UND), and teaches both middle level and secondary science methods courses. He also teaches online methods at the graduate level along with assessment and STEM education courses.
Stephanie Philipp is an assistant professor of science education at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and teaches both elementary science concepts and methods and secondary STEM education courses. She also teaches the educational technology course required for all teacher education program participants at UTC.
Heather Wygant is a high school science teacher in San Jose and finishing a dissertation at Texas Tech University.
Lauren Angelone is an assistant professor of instructional technology and science education Xavier University, private Jesuit university in Cincinnati, OH. Lauren is a former middle school science teacher with a PhD in educational technology and currently teaches both early and middle grades science methods courses alongside instructional technology.
Lisa Pitot is an assistant professor of science education at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. She teaches Science Methods to teachers getting certified 1st – 8th grade, with an emphasis on middle level. She has also worked with online course developers to enhance past and existing methods courses. Her background includes over 25 years of middle and high school science teaching, and teacher leadership in Northern Colorado.
Rita Hagevik is a professor and director of graduate science education in the Biology Department at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. She teaches secondary science methods to Masters of Arts in Science Teaching (MAT) students including those on a residency license. She holds a certification in online courses through quality matters and through excellence in online teaching from the UNCP Center for Teaching and Learning and Distance Education. Her background includes twelve years as a secondary science teacher in public schools as well as twenty years of teacher professional development.
Xinying Yin is an associate professor of science education at California State University at San Bernardino. She teaches elementary and secondary science methods courses and STEM Education master’s courses.
Matthew Perkins Coppola is an assistant professor of science education at Purdue University Fort Wayne, Indiana. He teaches elementary and secondary science methods courses for undergraduates seeking initial teacher licensure. A past PhysTEC fellow, he collaborates with the physics department to host a monthly regional meeting of secondary physics teachers and teaches a course for teaching and learning assistants. He is a licensed secondary physics teacher who taught ten years in the high school classroom and directed a school system planetarium for four years. He taught his first online high school astronomy course in 2000.
Learning Objectives and Content of the Proposed Workshop
We aim to preserve and cultivate that collective “wisdom of practice” by making the most of our shared space and time by distributing the lessons we have learned from our own experiences. This session will bring together of teachers of secondary science methods courses to share tools and resources to support preservice secondary teachers in their pedagogical development as teachers of science. Goals for the session include:
• Strengthening the network of secondary science teacher educators within the ASTE community
• Promoting the sharing of tools and resources to support our work as science teacher educators in face-to-face, hybrid, and online settings
• Generating new knowledge as science teacher educators that can be shared with the broader community
During the workshop, we will provide an overview of the session goals, provide time for introductions of attendees, and then spend the bulk of the time in roundtable sharing sessions organized by thematic topics suggested by the facilitators but also generated by participants. Using a discussion protocol, each of the roundtable members will be able to present an idea and receive feedback from the group. Roundtable topics include:
• How can I adapt my methods course to an online teaching and learning environment? How can field experiences be aligned with the format of the course?
• What new online tools are available for teaching science methods courses online? How we model technology and use it to enrich the learning experience?
• How are we addressing issues of social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our methods courses?
• How do we explicitly model 3-dimensional science instruction for students?
• How do you balance science content, pedagogical content knowledge, and methods in your course? How can we teach a multidisciplinary or integrated methods course (e.g., math/science or STEM) for middle or secondary pre-service teachers?
• How do we establish a common framework for middle and/or secondary science methods courses?
Each roundtable will have a preformatted electronic “minutes” page to capture discussion and make it available to other participants. In closing, we will preview a social media page designed to support continued sharing of resources and tools among the community (see below). These can include syllabi, learning activities, assignments, and other tools/resources. Attendees will also be encouraged to write for ASTE’s Innovations in Science Teacher Education and NSTA’s Science Scope and The Science Teacher, and to participate in the Preservice Teacher Education Share-A-Thon at the 2021 NSTA Conference in Chicago to be held several months later. The facilitators of this proposal also commit to submitting an article to Innovations detailing the facilitation and findings from this workshop.
Continued Learning and Collaboration Post-Workshop
With the arrival of a global pandemic, technology has come to play a more prominent role in both our teacher education pedagogy and our professional development. Concurrent with moving courses online we are also using remote technologies to connect online with other faculty who are facing similar challenges. The Facebook Group “Repository for Online Science Teacher Education Resources” (ROSTER), is one such ASTE member-initiated effort. This very proposal was crowd-sourced through the ROSTER and reflects the contribution of multiple individuals. Facilitators of this session are volunteer members of this group who have been actively engaged in teaching secondary science methods courses, and sharing ideas about face-to-face methods courses along with strategies for adapting these courses for distance learning. Our intent is not to be the ‘experts’ imparting wisdom to the attendees, but rather to position attendees as experts by placing value on their experiences teaching secondary science methods courses.
We will also create and maintain a Twitter List, “Methods for Secondary Science Education Methods” and through which secondary science teacher educators can contribute to the professional knowledge base. Through this, we hope to support continued learning and collaboration among attendees and the curation of resources and tools to support a wider audience. We intend to survey all workshop participants before the next ASTE conference in 2022 to collect information about the resources from the workshop they actually incorporated into practice and their challenges and successes with those resources. Furthermore, any publications (e.g., teacher practitioner or teacher educator journals) resulting from this collaboration will reach a broader audience for further collaboration and learning with not only science teacher educators, but also with prospective and in-service secondary teachers.
Diversity and Equity Focus
As ASTE members, we are committed to support diversity in ideas, pedagogy, who does science, and who teaches science. This workshop proposal and the workshop itself are planned to leverage the diversity of the ROSTER membership and the ASTE membership. We welcome voices from educators who are not ASTE members or conference attendees but use and contribute to the developed website and social media group. The facilitators see themselves as co-creators with the attendees toward the goal of equitable practices for secondary science teacher preparation