Research has shown that teachers' skills and knowledge are key determinants of students' opportunities to learn (Haycock, 2003). As highlighted in the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1996) professional development must include experiences that engage teachers in active learning that builds their knowledge, understanding, and ability. The 2004 to 2006 Teacher and Researcher Exploring and Collaborating Professional Development Program (TREC) program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF ) and implemented by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States (ARCUS ) targeted well documented shortcomings in professional development by offering two to six weeks field research experiences in the Arctic Region for K-12 teachers as a collaborative approach between scientists and science teachers.
This study described the extent of effectiveness of TREC with regard to teachers' abilities to teach science in terms of knowledge, attitudes, and skills and identified program components that were most effective. A mixed methods research design was used requiring the collection and systematic analysis of (1) archival data collected by the Arctic Research Consortium of the United States ( ARCUS ); and (2) participant survey. Data were analyzed and interpreted utilizing descriptive statistics, cross-tabulation and triangulation (Glaser & Strauss, 1967; Lincoln & Guba, 1985).
The results of this study provides evidence that TREC was effective as a professional development program in refining science teachers' knowledge, skills, and confidence to teach science effectively, renewed their enthusiasm for teaching and promoted students' learning. Respondents reported that they introduced new topics in their science lessons, incorporated new hands-on activities, gave more emphasis to data collection, integrated more technology, assigned projects based on "real world" problems more frequently, and communicated the excitement of Polar research. The one program goal that was not reached was the development of sustained, long-term partnerships.
Kaden, U. (2007). An evaluation of the effectiveness of the teachers and researchers exploring and collaborating professional development program. ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304848521). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/304848521?accountid=14470
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