Supporting the Implementation of Inquiry-based Elementary Science Programs
Andrew T. Lumpe, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Charlene M. Czerniak, University of Toledo, Jodi J. Haney, Bowling Green State University, Jason Shawberry, University of Toledo.
The primary goal of this report is to describe the context and support structures involved in the implementation of a National Science Foundation funded professional development program designed to train elementary teachers to use exemplary science curriculum materials. To conduct the program evaluation, a variety of data sources were used including teacher and principal questionnaires, academic year classroom observations, summer institute observations, teacher interviews, project team and Project Director interviews, student interviews, support teacher interviews, and teacher belief instruments. The following essential components were identified for the successful implementation of exemplary elementary science curriculum materials: 1) Barriers to reform must be addressed early in a professional development program. 2) Teachers need time to work with peers and mentors. 3) Positive teacher beliefs and attitudes toward science teaching provide a strong foundation for the reform process but must be maintained and nurtured during classroom implementation. 4) The school district must provide ample investment in order to bring about reform. 5) All stakeholders must philosophically agree and actively participate in the reform process.