Preparing Elementary Teachers for Ambitious Science Teaching

February 3, 2016, 12:30 - 1:30 pm

Wisconsin Idea Room, 159 Education Building, 1000 Bascom Mall

Elizabeth Davis

Associate Professor of Science Education, Chair of Elementary Teacher Education, University of Michigan

Elizabeth Davis

Elementary teaching is a challenging profession, and prospective elementary teachers need support in learning to engage in the kinds of ambitious science teaching called for in current reform efforts. In this talk, I outline a new project funded by the Spencer Foundation in which we are investigating, using complementary conceptual frames, how prospective teachers in a coherent, practice-based elementary teacher education program develop the high-leverage science teaching practices and content knowledge for science teaching entailed by ambitious science teaching. We are particularly interested in how these beginning teachers leverage their own developing knowledge and practice across their teaching of all the academic content areas for which they are responsible. I describe and explore the possible roles of a variety of teacher education experiences across the two years of the program, including coursework and integrated fieldwork in elementary classrooms, in promoting development and capacity to leverage. Given the early stages of the work, I ask questions about conceptual and methodological struggles we face in the research project. Through emphasizing practice and coherence, I hope to engage the audience in considering the importance of teacher education in preparing effective teachers, across grade bands and content areas.