Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Curriculum & Instruction

First Committee Member

Jian Wang

Second Committee Member

Janelle Bailey

Third Committee Member

Emily Lin

Fourth Committee Member

David Crowther

Fifth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages

262

Abstract

Science education reform calls for learners to be engaged in hand-on, minds-on activities related to science. As a part of this reform effort, learners are encouraged to use writing as a means of documenting their work and developing their understandings. This qualitative case study employed the Conceptual Change Perspective and Sociocultural Perspective to examine the impact on three elementary teachers' beliefs, practices, and student outcomes, as they relate to science notebooks, based on their participation in a professional study group. Data sources included teacher and student interviews, video of the study group meetings, video of classroom lessons, and student work in the form of science notebooks and pre- and posttests. Results show that the study group discussions focused on the science notebook as a tool, the teacher's role, the students' struggle to write, and the content of the notebook. Individual cases were developed and then a cross-case analysis was conducted. Results of this analysis suggest that the longer a teacher is involved in a study group, the greater the impact on her beliefs and practices, which resulted in students being able to define a purpose for the notebook, having a higher percentage of the parts of a conclusion within their notebooks, and demonstrating an understanding of the scientific content. Based on the analysis, a substantive theory on the development of insightful implementation of science notebooks was developed. This study has implications for both the elementary classroom and teacher education programs in helping teachers learn reform-based practices that facilitate student learning. Finally, suggestions for future research are considered.

Keywords

Educational change; Science – Study and teaching; Science notebooks; Student learning; Study group; Teacher learning; Teaching; Written discourse

Disciplines

Education | Educational Methods | Science and Mathematics Education

Language

English


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