DE-MARGINALIZING SCIENCE IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM BY COACHING TEACHERS TO ADDRESS PERCEIVED DILEMMAS

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Abstract

This study identified and explored the dilemmas experienced by three first-grade teachers in teaching elementary school science. The impact of coaching and teachers’ career stages on how teachers reconciled their dilemmas was examined. Results of this comparative case study indicate that, when it came to teaching science, teachers perceived tensions between focusing instructional practice on science versus the other school subjects, tensions between their responsibility to teach science and their lack of a science background, and tensions between using their curriculum as a script, supplement, starting point, or not all. Participants reconciled their common dilemmas in different ways.  Extent of teaching experience; comfort level with teaching reading, writing, and mathematics; and the sense of accountability teachers felt to teach science were related to how effectively dilemmas were addressed. The amount of time spent with the science coach-researchers was tied to the amount of time science was taught and the extent to which teachers addressed dilemmas in reform-oriented ways.

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How to Cite
Berg, A., & Mensah, F. M. (2014). DE-MARGINALIZING SCIENCE IN THE ELEMENTARY CLASSROOM BY COACHING TEACHERS TO ADDRESS PERCEIVED DILEMMAS. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 22, 57. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v22n57.2014
Section
Politics, Policies, and Practices of Coaching and Mentoring Programs
Author Biographies

Alissa Berg, Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL)

Alissa Berg is the Science Coordinator at the Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL), a Chicago nonprofit that focuses on developing highly effective teachers and transforming educational outcomes for students in the lowest performing schools. AUSL currently manages 29 neighborhood Chicago Public Schools serving more than 17,000 students. She holds a doctorate in Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

 

Felicia M. Mensah, Teachers College, Columbia University

Felicia Moore Mensah is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She also serves as the Program Coordinator for the Science Education Program. Her research centers on improving the teaching and learning of science in urban schools. She teaches elementary and middle/secondary science methods courses and conducts professional development with K-12 teachers. Her work in science teacher education includes publications in the Journal of Science Teacher Education, the Journal of Research in Science Teaching, and Cultural Studies of Science Education.