Good Practices: Teacher Training Materials

Teachers as designers and co-designers of SSIBL activities

The UmU partners designed a face-to-face and online in-service TPD to allow teachers to gain more agency in developing SSIBL activities for students. The TPD was led by a teacher having specific training in collegial learning, who is supporting the group. In the TPD the teachers had the possibility to act in several roles, i.e., learners, developers, reflective practitioners. This is repeated in several cycles with different content and increased challenges. The teachers were also treated as experts, both by the TPD material and by each other. Hence, the design promoted a culture of “collaborative designers”.
Ecological footprint as a starting point for SSIBL in secondary school. (Photo: Robert Vestin)
SSIBL-workshop for teacher educators at Umeå university.
Students involved in discussions about a SSIBL scenario. (Photo: Robert Vestin)

The UmU partners designed a face-to-face and online in-service TPD to allow teachers to gain more agency in developing SSIBL activities for students. The TPD was led by a supervisor. The TPD module consisted of eight sections (1-8) and each section consisted of four different parts (A, B, C and D). Each section (1-8) has a specific theme and focus specific elements of the SSIBL framework, and deal with it in different ways. In part A the teachers individually read and reflected upon research based SSIBL texts and other support material directed to teachers. The material also offers questions to scaffold the teachers’ reflections. 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.

In the TPD the teachers had the possibility to act in several roles, i.e., learners, developers, reflective practitioners. This design with repeated cycles, with different content, increased the challenges stepwise. Furthermore, the teachers were also treated as experts, both by the TPD material and by each other. Hence, the design promoted a culture of “collaborative designers”.

The TPD addressed eight main objectives, as follows:

O1. develop SSIBL teaching scenarios and activities

O2. reflect on current educational demands and the kind of science education required for the21st century

O3. reflect on the various elements of the SSIBL framework and on the competencies required for these elements to be implemented in science classrooms

O4. reflect on companion-meanings of different teaching approaches, i.e., comparing authoritative with critical and pluralistic teaching, and the approaches effect on the development of students’ competences for example critical thinking and scientific literacy

O5. develop, implement and assess SSIBL-based activities in their science classrooms and afterwards have and give feedback and follow-up discussions

The TPD evaluation addressed: How do the teachers’ experiences relate to the research based experiences? What transformation is needed? What do in-service teachers express as important components in the module? Why are these components important?

The evaluation instruments are semi-structured interviews, collection of teachers’ last reflective assignment, and audio-recordings of group discussions.

The teachers were positive to the TPD and the work format. The supportive atmosphere was important and much appreciated. It was a bit challenging in the beginning, to share ideas with each other during planning – something that diminished over time. Teachers expressed the importance of the discussions as “good to hear the responses from each other, and a strength to know that others also did similar things”. They were trialling more challenging tasks than in normal practice. The TPD materials worked well concerning developing the teachers’ ability to design SSIBL activities for students. Important aspects for the development of design agency are that the teachers acted as learners, designers, teachers and reflective practitioners, repeatedly in cycles. The fact that the TPD is dispersed over time gives the teacher opportunities to try different activities in different contexts several times, which promotes forming a culture of “collaborative designers”.

28/11/2017

European Commission

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

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