WP6 University of Helsinki.
Data collection report
Within the STEAM project WP 6 University of Helsinki team has designed and piloted professional
development programme. The implementation of the professional development programme will be
actualised during the academic year 2010–2011. However, the professional development
programme will be designed in the framework of design-based research (see methodology
document). Thus, designing and implementing the professional development programme is
iterative. Designing of the professional development programme based on relevant research
literature (Literature document), policy documents (see WP2, “Report_Nottingham Finland”) as well
as teacher interviews, observations of participating teachers’ lessons and observations in piloted
professional development programme.
In order to design professional development programme that practicing teachers will find relevant,
we interviewed teachers participating in pilot programme. In what follows, the progress of data
gathering process is described.
In the beginning of the piloting the professional development project several teachers were asked to
register in the programme. The number of the teachers was decided to be relative small. This
enabled deep focusing on teachers’ views and engagement in designing their own inquiry teaching
and learning. Eight teachers (two male) registered in the course. Teachers were in the four
municipality (Helsinki, Espoo, Kerava and Eurajoki) five of them was interviewed before course (see
Appendix 1 and the methodology paper). Teachers were from four schools.
In advance, the teacher profiles on views and habits of inquiry teaching are framed based on an
interview and a classroom video obtained from each teacher. These interviews and classroom video
recordings have been collected before the pilot version of professional development course.
Teachers were interviewed in their own schools. Interviews were held in English (except one) Post
doctoral fellow from abroad made the interviews. Teachers participated in the pilot version of
professional development programme had rather good command in English. However, there might
be more risk for misunderstanding in the communication between interviewer and interviewee. In
order to reduce the risks of language dependent misunderstanding, the interview protocol was sent
beforehand to the teachers.
In order to acquire broad view of teachers’ views and habits, one lesson was video recorded. Only
criterion for lesson selection was that there will be something that teachers would name as inquiry
activities (in a sense that teachers understood the inquiry at the time).
Having taking the course, the teachers are then asked to implement an inquiry lesson focusing on
their understanding of inquiry developed during the course. For validating teacher’s inquiry profile
initially constructed by the interviews, the even-frequency examination of lesson video (EFEL)
presents overall scenes of a science lesson. The interview protocol consists of inquiring whether
teacher’s aim of teaching science and its challenges are related to inquiry instruction, as well as
whether they practice any components of inquiry instruction, e.g., “Do you encourage your students
to seek their own questions to be inquired?”
The video recorded lesson was also analysed using the 4-level of inquiry table (See Literature review
document). Unfortunately, one male teacher–the one who was interviewed in Finnish–did not start
the professional development programme. Thus, for the further data gathering there were only four
teachers participating in the course. Fortunately, they all were in the different schools to ensure
wide variety of teachers’ views and habits.
The piloted professional development programme was designed as a 6-month programme of an in-
service training including 3 two-day seminars and school activities. There were interactive
workshops introducing aspects of inquiry and interest in science education. Teacher educators
helped participating teachers to plan trial lessons following the key ideas of the introduced types of
inquiry. Between the seminar meetings, teachers taught their trial lessons. In the second seminar,
teachers described their trials and teacher educators helped teachers to analyse the features of
inquiry and reflect their experiences of trial lessons. All seminar sessions were video recorded in
order to enable detail analysis.
Between second and third seminar, teachers were interviewed again. The interviews were planned
independently for each teacher based on their reflections during the second seminar. Teachers’
reflections were listened to several times from the video recordings. The issues in the interview
focused for example how to emphasise students question and how to engage special needs pupils.
Further, some of the trial lessons (one lesson per interviewed teacher) were video recorded.
The university of Helsinki team will have a new post graduate student who continue the data
analysis at the August 2010. The implementation of the professional development course will start
at October 2010.
Appendix 1. Interview protocol
1. In your opinion, what are the main goals of science learning?
a. What do you think are the main concepts and skills
b. What about the nature of science
c. What about interest in science
2. What are the main problems in physics teaching and learning?
a. How do you cope with these problems?
b. what would be the solution
c. What kind of support you would need
3. How interested in physics are your students?
a. Why is that?
b. What would increase the interest?
Think aloud, in what kind of situations in your physics classes…
4. Students set goals or ask questions by themselves
5. Students have possibilities to evaluate different arguments
a. e.g. objects in motion come to rest on the playground but remain in motion in
6. Students are asked to plan their own investigations?
7. Students search for information,
a. what sources of information and methods do they use?
i. laboratory settings (practical work, demonstrations, small scale research)
ii. textbook, Internet, magazines,
newspapers etc written materials?
iii. visits, visitors, etc. experts
8. Students construct models or explain phenomena
9. negotiate meaning of concepts or phenomena,
10. Students work with peers
11. Students report their findings of practical work or other investigations
a. What students write in classroom?
b. To whom do they write?
c. Do they use concept maps?
12. Students formulate arguments, do they argue or how they argue?
13. How you connect your own physics related experiences in teaching?
a. What kind of stories, anecdotes etc. do you tell
b. What kind of examples do you use
c. Do you take any photos