11. Composite ESTL Guide. This guide was produced for a science

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11. Composite ESTL Guide. This guide was produced for a science Powered By Docstoc
Marlene Thier, University of California at Berkeley
Herbert Thier, University of California at Berkeley

       Elementary Science Teacher Leadership (ESTL), the teacher-enhancement project

supported by the ExxonMobil Foundation, began in 1997. The project is part of a long-term

teacher development effort of the Science Education for Public Understanding Program (SEPUP)

at the Lawrence Hall of Science, University of California, Berkeley. The purpose of this project

is to enhance the understanding of science and approaches to teaching for in-service and

pre-service elementary teachers by building on-going relationships between teacher-training

institutions and the schools they serve. This is particularly important because very often the

collaborations between the universities and the schools they serve are not strong and do not go

beyond administrative and placement decisions. Many elementary schools do not see their roles

as providing the time and leadership for practical, reflective classroom experiences for student

teachers so that they can have substantive opportunities to develop their capabilities within the

context of student teaching. As a result of this, developing teachers who understand best

practices in science teaching has been particularly difficult. Additionally, it has also been noted

that teachers who are already part of the teaching force do not apply best practices when teaching

science and essentially do not exhibit adequate science teaching skills (Abell & Roth, 1992;

Atwater, Gardner, & Kight, 1991). The purpose of this project is to address these issues.

       The long-term project goals emphasize helping teachers to view themselves as life-long

learners and their profession as a career with opportunities for long-term growth. For this to

happen, it is necessary to change the way teachers are prepared to teach science for the

classrooms of tomorrow. The ESTL project is doing this by identifying exemplary pedagogical
strategies for teaching science. Very often, we see elementary teachers using outstanding

pedagogical skills when teaching language arts or social studies, but these skills do not crossover

to the teaching of science. These resource materials are developed and designed to help teachers

build on the strengths demonstrated in other subject areas in order to excel in science instruction.

To make this a reality, the project has developed a set of guides with materials kits that address

important issues in science and can be used for further developing in-service and pre-service

teachers of students in grades 4-6. These materials have been extensively tested at the ESTL field

test centers and based upon their feedback the Guides are now in the process of revision. Below

is a list of the resource guides with a brief description of each guide:

                          Elementary Science Teacher Leadership Guides

1.     Integration Across the Curriculum. The participants construct a rationale for the use of

       integration in science education and develop an integrated unit.

2.     Facilitated Teaching: Asking Better Questions. The participants understand how to

       facilitate learning and encourage student inquiry by learning how to ask thoughtful and

       open-ended questions.

3.     Learning About Assessment. Participants are provided with activities and information

       about assessment that provide contexts for discussion about the issues of assessment and


4.     Equity For All in Science Education. The participants learn to have a heightened

       awareness about the issues of equity and develop practical approaches to dealing with

       diversity in the classroom.
5.    The Nature of Science. Participants have experiences in science that help them construct

      their own understanding of the nature of science. Through these experiences they will

      also understand the link between the nature of science and the nature of learning.

6.    Understanding and Using the National Science Education Standards. This guide is

      designed to help participants to become familiar with the National Science Education

      Standards and to understand its importance to them as teachers of science.

7.    Teacher/Leaders and Peer Support. This guide helps participants to understand that it is

      necessary to see themselves as life long learners, to work collegially, and to collaborate

      with others in order to become effective teachers of science in their school communities.

8.    Building for Conceptual Understanding in Science. This guide gives participants a deeper

      knowledge of how children understand scientific phenomena and the implications of this

      for teaching and learning in science.

9.    Linking Science and Literacy. This guide highlights the importance of science in the total

      elementary school curriculum. It demonstrates the effectiveness of using quality science

      instruction as part of an integrated effort to support and contribute to the improvement of

      students‟ literacy skills.

10.   Science and Numeracy. This guide under construction will focus on the importance of

      quantitative reasoning in science. It will help teachers see how their science program can

      contribute to students‟ understanding of mathematics.

11.   Composite ESTL Guide. This guide was produced for a science methods course and

      includes parts of The Nature of Science, Facilitated Teaching: Asking Better Questions,

      Integration Across the Curriculum, Literacy Through Science, and Learning About
          Assessment. It includes resources that can be used to provide 27 dynamic hours of


          Each guide has a teaching focus and a science content theme that weaves throughout and

is reflected in the adult and student learning activities. The content themes, taken from the

National Science Education Standards, enhance the teacher-participant‟s science content

knowledge by using Middle School and High School SEPUP activities that model best practice

in science teaching. As part of the guide, the question: „What would this look like in my

classroom?‟ is answered by including CHEM 2 activities, which is the fourth- through

sixth-grade SEPUP program. In this way, teachers using ESTL materials are being helped to gain

an understanding of inquiry as articulated in the National Science Education Standards that


“Prospective and practicing teachers must take science courses in which they learn science

through inquiry, having the same opportunities as their students will have to develop

understanding” (NRC, 1996, p. 60). As part of ESTL, they will become skilled teachers of

science who “have special understandings and abilities that integrate their knowledge of science

content, curriculum, learning, teaching, and students” (NRC, 1996, p. 62). Having the ESTL

Guides used as part of their pre and in-service teacher professional development, the

teacher/participants will have opportunities to apply their knowledge of learning to become

effective educational leaders who develop the capacity to be decision makers about teaching

strategies, curriculum materials, learning goals, and the selection of appropriate assessment tasks

for their students.

          The guides are designed to be used for a variety of purposes and settings. First, they can

be used by either pre-service or in-service teacher educators in methods courses, required
classes, development workshops, or a variety of in-service programs. Second, the guides can be

used by picking from one or many guides, or by concentrating on a full guide or a sequence of

them together. For example, someone doing a workshop on assessment could use the Learning

about Assessment Guide to provide a scientific context for studying assessment issues.

Alternatively, the Composite Guide, for example, was created for a methods class at California

State University, Hayward and represents one instructor‟s vision of what is important for a

methods class. All of the guides are very flexible in nature and are intended for use as a resource,

so that parts of the guides can be integrated into existing university methods courses, school

in-service programs or other professional development efforts. Each guide, when done in its

entirety, represents nine dynamic hours of instruction, but it is possible to create a custom guide

selecting parts from many different guides.

       The guides present many theoretical concepts, but for each statement of theory an activity

is presented so the participants can concretely internalize the important concepts. Throughout the

guides there are hands-on activities, readings, time for discussions and personal reflection. They

emphasize that experience and human interaction are the basis for learning, and they model

“science as a human endeavor” (NRC, 1996, p. 200). The ESTL structure provides important

opportunities for teachers and their cooperating professionals as identified in the following

statement from the National Science Education Standards for excellence in science teaching:

“When teachers have the time and opportunity to describe their own views about learning and

teaching, to conduct research on their own teaching and to compare and contrast and revise their

views, they come to understand the nature of exemplary teaching”(NRC, 1996, p. 67).

The ESTL vision is to provide resources to help cooperating professionals work with teachers to

more effectively develop ideas about exemplary science teaching. The goal is for this to take
place during the student‟s pre-service teacher education and then to continue to support them as

they move into the schools for the first three years of their career as professionals. This

represents a five-year period of time when good classroom teaching practices are usually

developed, improved and refined and the individual becomes a tenured professional in the school

system. In the long-term, ESTL expects to contribute to helping beginning teachers understand

what constitutes exemplary science instruction and ways in which they can access it. ESTL has

embraced “the challenge of professional development … to create optimal learning situations in

which the best sources of expertise are linked with the experiences and current needs of the

teacher” (NRC, 1996, p. 58).

       ESTL will accomplish this by collaborating with professional groups such as the National

Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science

(AETS), and others to design and offer a series of ExxonMobil Elementary Science Teaching

Institutes. Institute participants will include university professors, school system leaders, and

others responsible for designing and implementing elementary teacher development programs at

the local level. In this way, ESTL will continue to change and update its materials dependent

upon feedback from the field and new theoretical resources, as they become available.

       Professional development for teachers is a continuous process that spans the life of a

teacher from undergraduate education to the end of their professional career. When professional

developers use ESTL strategies, they are using a structure designed to help change the vision of

science teaching in the 21st century. The ESTL structure provides for long term professional

development of teachers throughout their professional careers. The ESTL team invites interested

members of AETS to join us in what we see as a partnership with you to help improve the

quality and quantity of pre- and in-service teacher development. As soon as they are scheduled,
information about the planned ExxonMobil ESTL Institutes will be posted on the SEPUP Web

page (www. lhs.berkeley.edu/SEPUP) and the AETS listserv.


        Abell, S.K., & Roth, M. (1992). Constraints to teaching elementary science: A case study
of a science enthusiast student teacher. Science Education, 76, 581-585.

       Atwater, M. M., Gardner, C., Kight, C.R. (1991). Beliefs and attitudes of urban primary
teachers toward physical science and teaching physical science. Journal of Elementary Science
Education, 3(1), 3-11.

      National Research Council. (1996). The National science education standards.
Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

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