Resource Type
High school and Up
Organization or Publication
Journal of Geoscience Education
Marilyn Sigman
Robin Dublin
Andrea Anderson
Nora Deans
Janet Warburton
George Matsumoto
Darcy Dugan
Jana Harcharek
Related Members

Using Large Marine Ecosystems and Cultural Responsiveness as the Context for Professional Development of Teachers and Scientists in Ocean Sciences

Published in 2014 in the Journal of Geoscience Education, this paper describes the success of three professional development workshops developed by the PolarTREC staff and partners. The purpose was to bring together educators and scientists in three large marine ecosystems to share knowledge and create education and outreach materials.

Journal of Geoscience Education, Vol. 62, No. 1, February 2014: 25-40.
View Abstract at Journal of Geoscience Education.


During 2010–2012, three professional development workshops brought together K–12 educators and scientists conducting research in the geographic and ecological context of Alaska's three large marine ecosystems (Bering Sea/Aleutians, Gulf of Alaska, and Arctic Ocean). Educators successfully applied new scientific knowledge gained from their interactions with scientists through the collaborative development of lesson plans that were place-based and culturally responsive to Alaska Native cultures. Over the course of the three workshops, we refined a model for incorporating cultural responsiveness into workshop design, employed an innovative systemic traditional knowledge framework, and developed a rubric to evaluate the lesson plans in terms of cultural responsiveness. Key factors that increased the impact of a single professional development workshop on the ability of the K–12 educators to produce culturally responsive lesson plans included (1) participation of experienced teachers as mentors, (2) opportunities for workshop participants to interact with community members and culture bearers, and (3) embedding the training within a longer-term program of curriculum development and professional development in a school district for which cultural responsiveness was a high priority.

Article Citation

Marilyn Sigman, Robin Dublin, Andrea Anderson, Nora Deans, Janet Warburton, George I. Matsumoto, Darcy Dugan, and Jana Harcharek (2014) Using Large Marine Ecosystems and Cultural Responsiveness as the Context for Professional Development of Teachers and Scientists in Ocean Sciences. Journal of Geoscience Education: February 2014, Vol. 62, No. 1, pp. 25-40.

This program is supported by the National Science Foundation. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed by this program are those of the PIs and coordinating team, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.