Teacher Development Goals
A major focus of the Center's work is to explore the kinds of pre-service and in-service teacher development experiences that are most effective in promoting the selection and use of high-quality science curriculum materials.
Pre-service teacher education. To prepare pre-service teachers to recognize and value particular attributes of effective curriculum materials and teaching, researchers at Michigan State and the University of Michigan have developed instructional modules for use in elementary and secondary science teaching methods courses. These modules are designed to give pre-service teachers opportunities to study curriculum materials analysis and unit planning within the context of the Center's guiding principles. Based on criteria developed by Project 2061 for evaluating curriculum materials for their content and pedagogical quality, the modules prepare students to select effective materials and to adapt existing materials when necessary.
In-service professional development. Professional development modules for in-service teachers will emphasize the importance of having coherent and interconnected learning goals for students and enable teachers to evaluate, choose, and implement materials that are consistent with the Center's guiding principles. To implement these plans, each university is enlarging its existing partnerships with Chicago, Detroit, and Lansing public schools. Teachers and administrators from these schools also participate in activities of the Center's Knowledge Sharing Institute and in its research and curriculum development projects.
Practice-based professional development. In addition to the Center's work on modules, researchers at AAAS Project 2061 and Northwestern University are exploring professional development strategies that situate teachers' learning in the context of their enactment of the curriculum materials they are using in their classrooms. As teachers plan for and study their own enactment of materials, they gain content knowledge and improve their instructional skills through a close focus on the learning goals their students are expected to achieve. In the professional development sessions, both the curriculum materials and videotapes of the teachers' classrooms become the subjects of study. Teachers engage in an ongoing cycle of lesson design, enactment, analysis, and reflection as they select, create, and adapt materials for their own classrooms; try out the materials; and then study the effect on their students' learning.