Science teachers meaning-making of teaching practice, collaboration and professional development

Aarhus University, Denmark

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Abstract

The aims of the research presented in the thesis are three-fold: 1) To gain an insight into challenges and needs related to Danish science teachers’ professional development (PD), 2) to understand the science teachers’ meaning-making when involved in PD designed according to research based criteria and 3) to adapt, and discuss the use of a model for analysis and representation of the teachers’ meaning-making.

The empirical research includes a cohort-survey of graduating science teachers repeated in their 2nd year in practice, and two case studies, where one examines the meaning-making of teachers from a science team collaboratively inquiring into video and other artifacts from local classrooms, the other the meaning-making of a group of student teachers involved in video inquiries. Findings across papers point to an activity-orientation being widespread among the Danish science teachers. They focus on the students, but on their activities and engagement, not their learning. Furthermore a lack of confidence in having sufficient subject matter knowledge is widespread. The cases provide examples where the teachers develop a growing confidence: they refer to gaining insight into students’ learning by purposely experimenting in practice and sharing their experiences, and they begin to focus on students manipulating both science ideas and equipment. Scrutiny related to concrete incidents shared with peers seems to be a driving force in their awareness of a need to develop own teaching, but agency looking forward is also supported by new tools, theoretical lenses and ideas for transcending practices from the external domain. Finally it is discussed how the adapted meaning-making model supported an insight into these complex interplays.

Language
English with one-page summaries in Danish and English.

Reference to full-thesis

Nielsen, B. L. (2012). Science teachers meaning-making of teaching practice, collaboration and professional development. PhD-thesis, Centre for Science Education, Aarhus University.

Selected references

Nielsen B.L. (2012). Science teachers’ meaning-making when involved in a school-based professional development project. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 23(6), 621-649

Nielsen, B. L. (2011). A cohort of novice Danish science teachers: Background in science and argumentation about science teaching. NorDiNa, 7(2), 202-218.

Correspondence

Birgitte Lund Nielsen
Centre for Science Education
Aarhus University
C.F. Moellers Alle 8
DK – 8000 Aarhus C.
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Phone: +45 2874 2176

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