Good Practices: Teacher Training Materials

SSIBL-courses at Utrecht University, Freudenthal Institute

The UU TPD program adopted an inductive approach in which teachers got acquainted with the SSIBL pedagogy through several experiential activities. First, teachers explored SSIs, after which they collaborated in designing and reflecting on SSIBL learning and teaching activities. The program has been implemented in different groups of biology-, chemistry- and science (student) teachers.

The goal was to support teachers in designing SSIBL lessons and contribute to their teaching repertoire, by providing them with the means to foster scientific literacy and reflective citizenship in science education.

Carousel activity during pre-service training.
Pre-service teachers discussing an SSI.
Pre-service teachers presenting their lesson plan.

The teacher professional development (TPD) course was composed of two 1,5 hour face‐to‐face meetings (in the context of the regular 20 weeks pre‐service teacher course), and the development of a SSIBL‐lesson in small groups (or individually). The Utrecht University in-service teacher professional development usually consisted of one 75 minute session.

First, (pre-service) teachers were introduced to multiple SSI-cases, or brought their own examples. They discussed the controversies in a ‘carrousel assignment’.

Based on (pre-service) teachers findings the SSI-cases were reflected upon in a plenary discussion from a SSIBL perspective (SSI, IBL, CE). Characteristics of these controversies and how to address them in classroom settings were identified and discussed. Arguments were developed whether and why SSIs should be included in the science curriculum. Next, ways to inquire students’ questions were discussed (IBL), and examples were given and/or practiced how social and scientific inquiry can be integrated to explore these student’s questions (e.g.: mapping controversies, scaffolding inquiry, data sources & reliability, social inquiry, experiments, dialogue, and decision making).

After session one the pre-service teachers received a take‐home group assignment to design a SSIBL‐lesson, which were presented in the second session (approximately 3 weeks later) and discussed and reflected upon by the whole group. This session enabled teachers to analyse different teaching SSIBL-scenarios, and to reflect on their own skills.

Specific lesson plans and PowerPoint presentations are available for in-service, lower-secondary education and upper-secondary education. The worksheets and an overview of all the UU’s sessions are available in the resources section.

After the TPD the pre-service and in-service science teachers should be able to:

O1. Explain the main characteristics of the SSIBL framework and the skills required for these elements to be implemented in science classrooms.

O2. Indicate what socio-scientific issues are and how these can be introduced in the science classroom.

O3. Raise a ‘need to know’ (authentic student questions)

O4. Link and integrate social and scientific inquiry to explore open-ended questions

O5. Link SSIBL to the science curriculum

O6. Analyse teaching scenarios according to elements of the SIBBL framework

O7. Develop a SSIBL-based lesson for science classrooms.

O8. Critically reflect on their own skills in relation to teaching based on SSIBL and identify areas for further professional development

O9*. Implement SSIBL-based activities in their science classrooms and evaluate the implementation of SSIBL activities in terms of (a) their teaching effectiveness and (b) pupil learning.

*(Student) teachers were not always able to implement their designed SSIBL-lessons in classroom practice during the TPD courses

During evaluation of our TPDs, we addressed the following questions:

  • To what extent does our TPD programme support teacher professional development in SSIBL?
  • To what extend do (pre-service) teachers value the SSIBL approach to be implemented in their own classroom practice?
  • How could the SSIBL pedagogy (in our TPD programme) be optimised to better support teachers’ professional development in SSIBL?
A questionnaire, containing the following questions, was handed out to participants at the end of the TPD programmes:
  • Does the SSIBL approach appeal to you? Why/why not?
  • In what sense do you think lessons based on SSIBL can be of value in your lessons/ secondary science education?
  • According to you, what are challenges and/or pitfalls when designing and implementing SSIBL lessons?
  • To what extent did you think the introductory session about SSIBL was useful for developing a lesson series based on the SSIBL approach? What suggestions for improvement do you have?
  • According to you, what is the essence of the SSIBL approach?
Additionally, we did the following:
  • Collect filled in worksheets
  • Collect SSIBL lesson designs
  • Interview teacher educators and pre-service teachers
  • Make observation notes/video-recordings of the sessions

European Commission

PARRISE (grant agreement 612438) is a four year programme (2014-2017) funded by the European Commission.

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