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PERC 2011 Abstract Detail Page

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Abstract Title: Context Dependence of Teacher Practices in Middle School Science
Abstract: Conventional wisdom is that teachers have a model of teaching that they enact in the classroom. We studied four middle school science teachers and found that the conventional wisdom does not explain large variations in practices for the same teachers in different contexts. During a study of PhET interactive simulations, we observed four teachers in their regular (non-sim) classes and then in after-school classes in which they used PhET sims and activities developed by the PhET group. These activities were designed to be student-centered and inquiry-based. We found that two teachers led student-centered, inquiry-based activities in their regular classes but, in the after-school classes, controlled the classroom so that the sim activities were teacher-centered. The other two teachers led teacher-centered regular classes, while enacting the sim activities in student-centered ways. We observe that teachers' practices are highly sensitive to context and we consider two possible explanations for these observations.
Abstract Type: Contributed Poster

Author/Organizer Information

Primary Contact: Noah Podolefsky
University of Colorado
Department of Physics
390 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 3036418217
and Co-Presenter(s)
Katherine K. Perkins