Continuing Professional Development and Learning in Primary Science Classrooms

Mar. 29, 2010

Source: Teacher Development, Volume 14, Issue 1, (2010), pages 85-106.

The current paper investigates the effects of continuing professional development (CPD) on teachers' and pupils' experiences of learning and teaching science in primary classrooms.

During 2006–2007, quantitative and qualitative data were elicited from two primary teachers in Scotland. Data were collected using questionnaires, semi‐structured interviews and video‐stimulated reflective dialogues (VSRD) associated with specific learning experiences.
During the same period, quantitative data were elicited from 40 pupils using questionnaires and qualitative data obtained from dialogues with eight pupils in two focus groups.
Two teacher interviews, four teacher‐researcher dialogues and two pupil focus group interviews were audio‐recorded, transcribed and coded inductively

Cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) was used as a framework for analysis of the coded data. The data indicated differences in participating teachers' views of the purposes of CPD which were reflected in their ideal and real views of effective science teaching.

The combination of VSRD and CHAT made explicit the links between, and compensatory use of, formal and informal CPD and subject and pedagogical knowledge in relation to science.
As a result, reconciliation of ideal and real views of effective science teaching, identification of potential constraints and development of strategies for overcoming constraints in context are suggested as useful starting points for CPD.

Updated: Jul. 26, 2011