ERG SES G 03, Science Education
“Curriculum materials for Grades K–12 that are intended to promote teacher learning in addition to student learning have come to be called educative curriculum materials.” (Davis & Krajcik, 2005, p.3) Curriculum documents with objectives, materials for teachers, and teacher guidebooks are examples of the curriculum materials. The materials are important due to the fact that all teachers who work in urban or rural schools have a free access to them. Furthermore, summer workshops and other trainings may not be available for all teachers but curriculum materials are easily accessible for all.
Teachers’ learning how to teach is situated in different sources, for instance, teaching practice, colleagues, professional developments, and curriculum materials (Putnam & Borko, 2000). Research has revealed that teachers’ learning how to teach should be augmented with a complementary approach that has different parts (i.e., summer workshops, supportive curriculum materials, etc.) (Davis & Krajcik, 2005). However, there is a gap in the developing curriculum materials field due to lack of consensus about how to prepare a beneficial ones supporting teachers’ teaching and students’ learning (Davis & Krajcik, 2005).
In our country, we have a national curriculum used by all teachers across the country. After 2005, our both elementary and secondary science curricula were redesigned in light of Constructivist view. In the new curricula, the main purpose of science education is training scientifically literate citizens. Teachers’ understanding of the new curriculum and its philosophy is important regarding to what extend the reform planned would be successful (Collopy, 2003). Secondary science teachers focus on teaching a discipline so the have deeper subject matter knowledge (SMK) than elementary science teachers who have to teach many disciplines (e.g., physics, chemistry, physics) (Davis & Krajcik, 2005). Therefore, they need more support regarding curriculum materials. In this respect, this study focused on analyzing to what extend recently designed guidebooks for elementary science teachers support teachers’ teaching.
In the analysis, pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) framework was used as a lens. PCK is teachers’ knowledge for making a topic more meaning to learners with different background and interest (Shulman, 1986). PCK has five components, namely, orientation to science teaching (teachers’ beliefs and knowledge about goals and purposes of science teaching), knowledge of learner (learners’ prior knowledge, difficulties, and misconceptions about a topic), knowledge of curriculum (objectives, relation between the topics), knowledge of instructional strategies (instructional strategies, representations), and knowledge of assessment (what to assess, how to assess). The reason why PCK was used is that PCK has a significant role in defining effective and competent teachers, and their practice. The practical value of PCK is related to its nature because it informs aspects of science teacher education programs, in terms of both pre-service and in-service teacher education. PCK and its components are useful for researchers studying on teacher knowledge and practice because they provide a road map to find your way (Friedrichsen, 2008).
It is aimed that the analysis of curriculum materials with a new rubric that we formed by the use of PCK framework will be useful for researchers from different countries. In the literature, some research has focused on analyzing the curriculum materials in the US; however, they only analyzed materials regarding instructional strategy aspect. Teachers should also be supported regarding learners’ difficulties and misconceptions, assessment strategies, and relation between the topics, etc. Therefore, we aimed to fill that gap in the literature by analyzing elementary science teacher guidebooks by the use of PCK rubric that we formed, which will be useful for any researchers working in any country. New documents should be analyzed and necessary changes should be made all around the world.
Collopy, R. (2003). Curriculum materials as a professional development tool: How a mathematics textbook affected two teachers’ learning. The Elementary School Journal, 103(3), 287-311. Davis, E. A. & Krajcik, J.S. (2015). Designing Educative Curriculum Materials to Promote Teacher Learning. Educational Researcher, 34(3), 3-14. Friedrichsen, P. M., (2008). A conversation with Sandra Abell: Science teacher learning. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 4(1), 71-79. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative evaluation and research methods (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Putnam, R. & Borko, H. (2000). What do new views of knowledge and thinking have to say about research on teacher learning? Educational Researcher, 29(1), 4–15. Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching, Educational Researcher, 15, 4-14.
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