Sustained professional learning opportunities are needed to help science teachers teach new science standards, according to a new report
K-12 science teachers are often left to deal with a lack of coherent and sustained professional learning opportunities that researchers say are needed to support science teachers inside and outside of the classroom, particularly as they strive to teach new science standards.
As researchers’ and teachers’ understanding of how best to learn and teach science evolves and curricula are redesigned, many teachers are left without the experience needed to enhance the science and engineering courses they teach, according to a Jan. 20 report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
This issue is particularly pronounced in elementary schools and in schools that serve a high percentage of low-income students.
Science teachers’ professional learning occurs in a range of settings, both in and outside of schools, including teacher-organized and teacher-led study groups, coaching from more experienced teachers, and professional development programs that are often at summer institutes. Professional learning in online environments and through social networking holds promise, although evidence from research and practice on the outcomes and value of these modes is limited.