Publication Date

2008-06-12

Availability

Open access

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)

Department

Teaching and Learning (Education)

Date of Defense

2008-06-05

First Committee Member

Okhee Lee - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Walter Secada - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Cory Buxton - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Randall Penfield - Outside Committee Member

Abstract

Efforts to improve education - more concretely science education - by creating fundamental shifts in standards for students and teachers have been launched by educators and policy makers in recent years. The new standards for science instruction address improvements in student learning, program development, assessment, and professional development for teachers, with the goal to prepare US students for the academic demands of the 21st century. The study examined teachers' knowledge and practices in science instruction with English language learning (ELL) students. It also examined relationships among key domains of science instruction with ELL students, as well as profiles of teaching practices. The four domains included: (1) teachers' knowledge of science content, (2) teaching practices to promote scientific understanding, (3) teaching practices to promote scientific inquiry, and (4) teaching practices to support English language development during science instruction. The study was part of a larger 5-year research and development intervention aimed at promoting science and literacy achievement of ELL students in urban elementary schools. The study involved 32 third grade, 21 fourth grade, and 17 fifth grade teachers participating in the first-year implementation of the intervention. Based on teachers' questionnaire responses, classroom observation ratings, and post-observation interviews, results indicated that (1) teachers' knowledge and practices were within the bounds of the intervention, but short of reform-oriented practices and (2) relationships among the four domains existed, especially at grade 5. These findings can provide insights for professional development and future research, along with accountability policies.

Keywords

English Language Development; Science Education; Teacher Content Knowledge; Science Inquiry

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