by Katarina Ottander & Christina Ottander (Umeå University, Sweden)
Umeå University got a request from the Swedish National Agency of Education (SNAE) to develop an in-service Teacher Professional Development (TPD) program about the Socio-Scientific Inquiry-Based Learning (SSIBL) pedagogical framework, providing the possibility to reach all Swedish in-service science teachers. Our experience from the first round of the in-service TPD in SSIBL gave important input in the development of the SSIBL module. The module is now available online on the Swedish National Agency of Education learning platform for collaborative collegial learning.
During the 2016-2017 school year, we supervised one in-service TPD group of nine teachers, who adopted the SSIBL module. The in-service TPD module consists of eight sections. Each section has a specific theme focusing on elements of the SSIBL framework (Table 1).
|Table 1. The eight sections included in the in-service TPD of the SSIBL module|
|Section 1||Introduction to SSIBL education|
|Section 2||Communication, argumentation and action|
|Section 3||Critical thinking|
|Section 4||Scientific knowledge in SSIBL-education|
|Section 5||Conflicts of interests and action competence|
|Section 6||Cultural and historical perspectives in SSIBL education|
|Section 7||Students’ reports and assessment|
|Section 8||Reflection and analysis|
As indicated in Figure 1, each section consists of four different parts (A, B, C and D). In part A the teachers read research-based texts and reflect individually over them. Part B consists of two components, collegial discussion and collegial planning of SSIBL-activities. The teachers meet and discuss the texts and their personal reflections, and move on to collegial planning of an activity based on the specific theme. In part C the teachers try the activity in the classroom and reflect individually about the activity. Part D consists of a collegial discussion and reflection about the activities performed.
The group we work with consists of nine teachers in integrated science, biology and chemistry; it has 90-minute meetings every third week. As of June 2017, the TPD was still continuing and the evaluation had not been concluded. However, our experience indicates that the teachers appreciate the collaborative structure, which allows them to meet and discuss research-based literature, design, and implement SSIBL activities in their classroom, and finally reflect on their experience.
We believe that the implementation of the SSIBL activities in the teachers’ classroom is of big importance for the TPD module. The sharing, comparison and evaluation of the SSIBL activities, which have been implemented in different classrooms, create a good professional development context for the teachers. For instance, in one of the recent meetings we discussed assessment. The teachers brought different student assignments which were discussed in small groups (Figure 2). The assessment of SSIBL activities are a challenging task that we need to revisit.