Journal of Science Teacher Education

, Volume 22, Issue 7, pp 579–594 | Cite as

Observed Implementation of a Science Professional Development Program for K-8 Classrooms

  • Becky Barton SinclairEmail author
  • Gilbert Naizer
  • Cynthia Ledbetter


The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of a teacher professional development program on the classroom teaching practices of the participants. This particular professional development program included an intensive summer institute, 8 monthly follow-up sessions, informal participant-professor mentoring and peer networking. The majority of participants were teachers (grades 4–8) in rural school districts. Qualitative and descriptive measures were used to assess the impact of this program in terms of participants’ science content learned, teacher self-efficacy, classroom teaching performance and an informal program survey.


Teacher professional development Self-efficacy Content knowledge 


  1. Baird, W., Ellis, J., & Kuerbis, P. (1989). ENLIST micros: Training science teachers to use microcomputers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 26, 587–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bandura, A. (1997). Self-efficacy: The exercise of control. New York: Freeman.Google Scholar
  3. Bandura, A. (2000). Exercise of human agency through collective efficacy. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 75–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bauch, P. (2001). School-community partnerships in rural schools: Leadership, renewal, and a sense of place. Peabody Journal of Education, 76(2), 204–221.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bell, G. L. (1999). An investigation of a professional development model in science education: A systems approach. (Doctoral dissertation, The University of Texas-Austin, 1999). UMI Dissertation Services , 9947171.Google Scholar
  6. Bell, G. L. (2001, January). Reflective journal writing paired with inquire-based science instruction: Effects on elementary pre-service teachers’ science and science teaching beliefs. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Educators of Teachers in Science. Costa Mesa, CA.Google Scholar
  7. Bransford, J. D., Brown, A. L., & Cocking, R. R. (Eds.). (1999). How people learn: Brain, mind, experience, and school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  8. Conover, W. J. (1999). Practical nonparametric statistics. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  9. Downing, J. E., & Filer, J. D. (1999). Science process skills and attitudes of pre-service elementary teachers. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 11(2), 57–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Enochs, L. G., Scharmann, L. C., & Riggs, I. M. (1995). The relationship of pupil control of preservice elementary science teacher self-efficacy and outcome expectancy. Science Education, 79, 63–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eppley, K. (2009). Rural Schools and the highly qualified teacher provision of No Child Left Behind: A critical policy analysis. Journal of Research in Rural Education 24(4).Google Scholar
  12. Feuerborn, L., Chinn, D., & Morlan, G. (2009). Improving mathematics teachers’ content knowledge via brief in-service: A U.S. case study. Professional Development in Education, 35(4), 531–545.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fosnot, C. (Ed.). (1996). Constructivism: Theory, perspectives, and practice. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  14. Gibson, S., & Dembo, M. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 569–582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Guskey, T. R., & Passaro, P. D. (1994). Teacher efficacy: A study of construct dimensions. American Educational Research Journal, 31, 627–643.Google Scholar
  16. Haney, J., & Lumpe, A. (2003). Constructive beliefs about the science classroom learning environment: Perspective from teachers, administrators, parents, community members and students. School Science and Mathematics, 103, 366–377.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Key, D. L. (1998). Teacher interns’ changing perceptions during internship. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Mid-South Educational Research Association. New Orleans, LA.Google Scholar
  18. Keys, C., & Bryan, L. (2001). Co-constructing inquiry-based science with teachers: Essential research for lasting reform. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 38, 631–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Klein, B. S. (2001). Guidelines for effective elementary science teacher inservice education. Journal of Elementary Science Education, 13(2), 29–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lawrenz, F., Huffman, D., Appeldoorn, K., & Sun, T. (2002). Classroom observation handbook: CETP core evaluation. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  21. Loucks-Horsley, S., Hewson, P. W., Love, N., & Stiles, K. E. (1998). Designing professional development for teachers of Science and Mathematics. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press Inc.Google Scholar
  22. Lumpe, A. T., Haney, J. J., & Czerniak, C. M. (2000). Assessing teachers’ beliefs about their science teaching context. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 37(3), 275–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lydon, S., & King, C. (2009). Can a single, short continuing professional development workshop cause change in the classroom? Professional Development in Education, 35(1), 63–82.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mayer, R. (2004). Should there be a three-strike rule against pure discovery learning? American Psychologist, 59, 14–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Naizer, G. L., Bell, G. L., West, K., & Chambers, S. (2003). Inquiry science professional development with a science summer camp for immediate application. The Journal of Elementary Science Education, 15(2), 31–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. National Research Council. (1996). National Science Education Standards. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  27. National Research Council. (2000). Inquiry and the national science education standards. In S. Olson & S. Loucks-Horsley (Eds.), A guide for teaching and learning. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.Google Scholar
  28. O’Brien, T. (1992). Science inservice workshops that work for elementary teacher. School Science and Mathematics, 92, 422–426.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Plano Independent School District (2009). Job posting. [On-line]. Available:
  30. Riggs, I. M., & Enochs, L. G. (1990). Toward the development of an elementary teacher’s science teaching efficacy belief instrument. Science Education, 74(6), 625–637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Shriner, M., Schlee, B., Hamil, M., & Libler, R. (2009). Creating teachers’ perceptual, behavioral, and attitudinal change using professional development workshops. Teacher Development: An International Journal of Teachers’ Professional Development, 13(2), 125–134.Google Scholar
  32. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1990). Basic of qualitative research: Grounded theory procedures and techniques (2nd ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  33. Swafford, J. O., Jones, G. A., Thornton, C. A., Stump, S. L., & Miller, D. R. (1999). The impact on instructional practice of a teacher change model. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 2(32), 69–82.Google Scholar
  34. Texas Education Agency. (1997). Texas essential knowledge and skills. Austin: Author.Google Scholar
  35. Thompson, D. (2009). Characteristics of a good teacher: What it takes to make the grade. [On-line]. Available:
  36. Tobin, K., & Tippins, D. (1993). Constructivism as a referent for teaching and learning. In K. Tobin (Ed.), The practice of constructivism in science education (pp. 3–21). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence-Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  37. U. S. Department of Education. (2001). PL 107–110: No child left behind act. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  38. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2009). Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008–2009. Washington, DC: Author.Google Scholar
  39. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  40. Weiss, I. R., Banilower, E. R., Crawford, R. A., & Overstreet, C. M. (2003). Local systemic change through teacher enhancement, year eight cross-site report. Chapel Hill, NC: Horizon Research.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Association for Science Teacher Education, USA 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Becky Barton Sinclair
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gilbert Naizer
    • 1
  • Cynthia Ledbetter
    • 2
  1. 1.Texas A&M University–CommerceCommerceUSA
  2. 2.University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA

Personalised recommendations