The Impact of a Novel Curriculum on Secondary Biology Teachers’ Dispositions Toward Using Authentic Data and Media in Their Human Impact and Ecology Lessons

From Section:
Instruction in Teacher Training
Aug. 01, 2013

Source: Journal of Science Teacher Education, Volume 24, No. 5, August 2013, p. 833-857.
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

The study examines how implementation of a real-world data and media-centered human impact curriculum influenced teacher dispositions toward using data and media in their ecology and human impact lesson plans. It explores how integration of these elements shapes teachers’ lesson plans.

Multiple approaches were used to collect data from teachers.
In the spring prior to curriculum implementation (2010), ten teachers were observed teaching their usual human impact curriculum, and all teachers completed an online questionnaire about their background in biology teaching, their current human impact curriculum-and their attitudes and experience toward teaching human impact and ecology, and using data as measured in a 5-pointLikert scale.


The findings show that this curriculum implementation positively affected teachers’ dispositions to use data analysis and media about scientific research to explain how people impact ecological function. Surveys showed significant pre-/ post-implementation increases in the level of importance that teachers ascribe to integrating human impact into discussions of ecological function and in the level of importance that they ascribe to including data in their human impact lessons. Lesson plan responses indicated teachers’ increased dispositions for using data analysis and media for learning how human impact disrupts ecological function, as shown by the overwhelmingly increase in references to use of data and media in their post- implementation lesson plans.

Furthermore prior to the curriculum implementation, many teacher lesson plans focused on the general theme that people harm the environment. The curriculum gave teachers cases of data and media examples that helped them specify the particular ways people cause ecological harm. Teachers, by including data and media in their post-implementation lesson plans, now provided students with the necessary depth to develop more nuanced understandings of the factors that contribute to and can possibly alleviate ecological harm.

Implications for Teacher Education

This study describes a data- and media-centered approach for immersing teachers in the authentic practice and real-world context of science. Furthermore, this study demonstrates that curriculum centered on data and media can increase teacher dispositions to include data and media in their lessons and that their inclusion can make those lessons more explicit and authentic than generalized lessons that lack the specific real-world examples and contexts that data and media provide.

Updated: Nov. 13, 2018
Biology | Curriculum implementation | Environmental education | Lesson plans | Secondary school teachers