Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Studies

First Advisor

Christine Lotter

Abstract

The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) call for science teachers to implement pedagogical strategies that can approximate authentic scientific practices. One such strategy, Model-Based Teaching, engages students in learning the disciplinary core ideas of science through the process of developing and using Scientific Models. Model-Based Teaching is a difficult pedagogical strategy for teachers to learn and implement. Factors such as Knowledge of Scientific Models and Modeling (KSM), understanding of the Nature of Science (NOS), and use of questioning to facilitate whole class discussions play important roles in the development of teachers' ability to implement Model-Based Teaching. This study employed a mixed methods, multiple case study approach to investigate the impact these factors had on in-service science teachers' ability to implement Model-Based Teaching. Data from before, during and after a one-week summer professional development institute that focused on Model-Based Teaching were collected and analyzed for 15 middle and high school science teachers. Three of these teachers were selected for a multiple case study. Through the use of the Interconnected Model of Teacher Professional Growth (IMPG) (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002) as an analysis framework, a performance progression for Model-Based Teaching was identified. This performance progression identified four distinct levels of Model-Based Teaching including Pre-Modeling, Emergent Modeling, Transitional Modeling, and Adept Modeling. Three of the four levels are exemplified through the case study teacher descriptions. Teachers' questioning skills, knowledge of models, and understanding of the nature of science, were found to be important factors in the progress of science teachers towards effective implementation of Model-Based Teaching. Facilitating whole class discussions focused on models was found to be a central factor in the progression of teachers' implementation of Model Based Teaching. Implications for professional development of science teachers include a need to provide sustained experiences that build knowledge of scientific models and modeling as well as support student-centered discourse strategies that focus on the use of questioning to facilitate whole class discussions.

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