ELEMENTARY SCIENCE TEACHER LEADERSHIP (ESTL) PROGRAM: A PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT MODEL 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 evaluation. 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 instruction. 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 states: “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. References 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.