Clough Berg Olson - IJSME 2008

Promoting Effective Science Teacher Education And Science Teaching: A Framework For Teacher Decision-Making

Int.J. Science and Math Education 11/5/08 7:31 PM

Michael P. Clough, Craig A. Berg, Joanne K. Olson

Learning and effective teaching are both complicated acts. However, many administrators, teachers, parents, and policymakers appear not to recognize those complexities and their significance for practice. Fueling this perception, recommendations from isolated research findings often neglect the complexities in learning and teaching, and when implemented in classrooms often fall well short of the advertised effect. Consequently, education research is generally ignored, and the resulting research-practice gap raises concerns regarding the utility of university-based teacher education, and education research more generally. However, the strength of education research resides in the synergy resulting from its integration into a unifying system that guides, but does not determine, decision-making. Dewey (1929) argued for teacher decision-making guided by education research, but recently several writers have justly criticized education researchers for not providing comprehensible assistance to educators and policymakers (Good, 2007; Shymansky, 2006; Windschitl, 2005). This paper proposes a decision-making framework for teaching to help beginning and experienced teachers make sense of education research, come to understand crucial teacher decisions, and how those decisions interact to affect student learning. The proposed decision-making framework for teaching has significant utility in the design of science methods courses, science teacher education programs, effective student teacher supervision experiences, and professional development workshops.