Pedagogy, Implementation, and Professional Development for Teaching Science Literacy: How Students and Teachers Know and Learn

  • Lori Norton-MeierEmail author
  • Brian HandEmail author
  • Andy Cavagnetto
  • Recai Akkus
  • Murat Gunel

As this young learner points out, researchers and scientists alike must plan carefully to ask good questions and then collect data in such a way to answer the research question. This is the focus of this chapter: to explore how the very methodology selected to investigate teacher practices and student learning helped to answer our broad, overarching research question: What is the impact on student learning when teachers are supported as learners during professional development and through the process of implementing an innovative approach to science and literacy?

Amelia, who is quoted above, was a participant in a 3-year research project conducted in a US Midwestern state that investigated teacher implementation of an innovative approach to integrating science and literacy called the Science Writing Heuristic (SWH, Hand & Keys, 1999). Teachers need help in implementing writing strategies within their classrooms that ultimately have an impact on helping students learn science. The No Child Left Behind legislation (NCLB, 2002) emphasized reading and mathematics to the exclusion of other subjects, particularly in the elementary grades. Therefore, there is a growing need for integrating language and science (Bybee, 1995; Hand & Prain, 2006; Saul, 2004).


Professional Development Content Knowledge Implementation Level National Science Education Standard Individualize Education Program 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Agresti, A., & Finlay, B. (1997). Statistical methods for the social sciences (3rd edn.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  2. Akkus, R., Gunel, M., & Hand, B. (2007). Comparing an inquiry-based approach known as the Science Writing Heuristic to traditional science teaching practices: Are there differences? International Journal of Science Education, 29(14), 1745–1765.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bybee, R. W. (1995). Achieving science literacy. The Science Teacher, 62(7), 28–33.Google Scholar
  4. Cavagnetto, A. (2006). Setting the question for inquiry: The effects of whole class vs. small group on student achievement in elementary science. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Iowa, Iowa City.Google Scholar
  5. Chinn, C. A., & Malhotra, B. A. (2002). Epistemologically authentic inquiry in schools: A theoretical framework for evaluating inquiry tasks. Science Education, 86(2), 175–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Driver, R., Newton, P., & Osborne, J. (2000). Establishing the norms of scientific argumentation in classrooms. Science Education, 84(3), 287–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Duschl, R. A., & Ellenbogen, K. (1999). Middle school science students' dialogic argumentation. Proceedings of the 2nd international conference of the European Science Education Research Association “Research in science education: Past, present, and future”, Kiel, Germany. Retrieved from
  8. Duschl, R. A., & Ellenbogen, K. (2002, September). Argumentation processes in learning science. Paper presented at the international conference on Ontological, Epistemological, Linguistic and Pedagogical Considerations of Language and Science Literacy: Empowering Research and Informing Instruction, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.Google Scholar
  9. Gowin, D. (1981). Educating. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Greenbowe, T. J., & Hand, B. (2005). Introduction to the Science Writing Heuristic. In N. J. Pienta, M. M. Cooper, & T. J. Greenbowe (Eds.), Chemist's guide to effective teaching (pp. 140–154). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.Google Scholar
  11. Gunel, M. (2006). Investigating the impact of teachers' practices of inquiry and non-traditional writing on students' academic achievement of science during longitudinal professional development program. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.Google Scholar
  12. Gunel, M., Akkus, R., Hand, B., & Norton-Meier, L. A. (2006, April). Effects of teacher level of implementation of the science writing heuristic on students' performance on post-test and standardized tests. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching, San Francisco, CA.Google Scholar
  13. Hand, B., Hohenshell, L., & Prain, V. (2004). Exploring students' responses to conceptual questions when engaged with planned writing experiences: A study with year 10 science students. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 41(2), 186–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Hand, B., & Keys, C. (1999). Inquiry investigation. The Science Teacher, 66(4), 27–29.Google Scholar
  15. Hand, B., Norton-Meier, L. A., Gunel, M., & Akkus, R. (2006, July). Examining the impact of teacher implementation on student performance on standardized testing when using the Science Writing Heuristic in K-6 science programs. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Australasian Science Education Research Association, Canberra, Australia.Google Scholar
  16. Hand, B., & Prain, V. (2006). Moving from border crossing to convergence of perspectives in language and science literacy research and practice. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2/3), 101–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hand, B., Wallace, C. S., & Yang, E.-M. (2004). Using a Science Writing Heuristic to enhance learning outcomes from laboratory activities in seventh-grade science: Quantitative and qualitative aspects. International Journal of Science Education, 26(2), 131–149.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hohenshell, L. M., & Hand, B. (2006). Writing-to-learn strategies in secondary school cell biology: A mixed method study. International Journal of Science Education, 28(2/3), 261–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Howe, K. R. (2003). Closing methodological divides: Toward democratic educational research (Vol. 11, Philosophy and Education Series). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.Google Scholar
  20. Keys, C. W., Hand, B., Prain, V., & Collins, S. (1999). Using the Science Writing Heuristic as a tool for learning from laboratory investigations in secondary science. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 36(10), 1065–1084.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lemke, J. L. (1990). Talking science: Language, learning, and values. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.Google Scholar
  22. Levine, J. H., Roos, T. B. (2002). Introduction to data analysis: The rules of evidence. Retrieved May 25, 2008, from
  23. Loucks-Horsley, S., & Steigelbauer, S. (1991). Using knowledge of change to guide staff development. In A. Lieberman & L. Miller (Eds.), Staff development for education in the '90s: New demands, new realities, new perspectives (pp. 15–36). New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
  24. Mehan, H. (2001). “What time is it, Denise?”: Asking known information questions in classroom discourse. Theory into Practice, 18(4), 285–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mertler, C. A., & Vannatta, R. A. (2002). Advanced and multivariate statistical methods: Practical application and interpretation. Los Angeles: Pyrczak.Google Scholar
  26. No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Pub. L. No. 107–110, 115 Stat. 1425. (2002).Google Scholar
  27. Omar, S., & Gunel, M. (2004, January). The impact of teacher implementation on student performance when using the Science Writing Heuristic. Paper presented at the annual conference of the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.Google Scholar
  28. Piburn, M., Sawada, D., Falconer, K., Turley, J., Benford, R., & Bloom, I. (2000). Reformed teaching observation protocol (RTOP) (ACEPT Technical Report No. IN00-1). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University, Arizona Collaborative for Excellence in the Preparation of Teachers.Google Scholar
  29. Rudd, J. A., II, Greenbowe, T. J., & Hand, B. (2001). Recrafting the general chemistry lab report. Journal of College Science Teaching, 31(4), 230–234.Google Scholar
  30. Sanders, W. L., Wright, S. P., & Horn, S. P. (1997). Teacher and classroom context effects on student achievement: Implications for teacher evaluation. Journal of Personnel Evaluation in Education, 11(1), 57–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Saul, E. W. (Ed.). (2004). Crossing borders in literacy and science instruction: Perspectives on theory and practice. Newark, DE: International Reading Association & National Science Teachers Association.Google Scholar
  32. Sheskin, D. J. (2004). Handbook of parametric and nonparametric statistical procedures (3rd edn.). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  33. Smith, M. L. (2006). Multiple methodology in education research. In J. L. Green, G. Camilli, P. B. Elmore (Eds.), Handbook of complementary methods in education research (pp. 457–476). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  34. Songer, N. B., Lee, H.-S., & McDonald, S. (2003). Research towards an expanded understanding of inquiry science beyond one idealized standard. Science Education, 87(4), 490–516.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. United States National Research Council. (1996). The national science education standards. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Available from php?record_id = 4962
  36. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Wallace, C. S., & Narayan, R. (2002, September). Acquiring the social language of science: Building science language identities through inquiry-based investigations. Paper presented at the international conference on Ontological, Epistemological, Linguistic and Pedagogical Considerations of Language and Science Literacy: Empowering Research and Informing Instruction Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.Google Scholar
  38. Wilkinson, L., & APA Task Force on Statistical Inference. (1999). Statistical methods in psychology journals: Guidelines and explanations. American Psychologist, 54(8), 594–604.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum & InstructionIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  2. 2.School of EducationState University of New YorkBinghamtonUSA
  3. 3.College of EducationAbant Izzet Baysal UniversityBoluTurkey
  4. 4.Science EducationAtaturk UniversityErzurumTurkey

Personalised recommendations