zondag 27 november 2011


The last few weeks I have worked on designing a training program for teachers from a primary school,  together with three other students from my master program at the University of Twente. We have called the teacher training program ´scientifIK´ because the underlying goal of the program was to make the teachers more confident about their science teaching (for the non-Dutch readers: IK means ´I´ in Dutch). Moreover, the training was also about integrating technology into science teaching.

The course was mainly developed on the basis of the TPACK model, which was described in my previous blog. The primary school for which it was designed was a fictive school, so unfortunately it will probably not be used. We had made our context analysis on the basis of literature about Dutch primary school teachers. 

Our main starting points were that a) primary school teachers are often not confident about teaching science because they feel that they do not know enough about the topics and b) that technology is not used very often by the teachers and therefore new, especially in the combination with science teaching. We also included some aspects of professional development of teachers, like creating space in the program for individual learning goals, individual coaching, the use of experiental learning and sharing experiences with other teachers. To make the training program more sustainable and integrated in the school, we explicity involved the schoolleader in the program and made sure that the training program would fit well into the school organization.

The training program was divided into three levels. In every level the following sequence of activities was repeated:

  • Pre-test: teachers´ TPACK measurement
  • Kick-Off: planning of the level, discussion about personal and school goals
  • Meetings: teachers develop knowledge and skills together 
  • Posttest:  teachers´ TPACK measurement
In between the meetings, teachers work on their individual learning goals and share these experiences with their colleagues on the ELO forum of their school. The teachers are encouraged to integrate what they have learned during the meetings in their classroom and to reflect both on their own experiences and the experiences of other teachers. This will be guided by the trainer. The trainer will also guide the teachers individually by email in between the meetings. In these emails the teachers can ask questions to the trainer and reflect on their learning experiences. 

In the exploration level, which was the first six months of the program, the teachers will develop their content knowledge by learning more about scientific concepts. In the meetings of the exploration level, different pedagogies and technologies are used to so that the teachers can get an idea about how they work. 

The second level is called the utilization level and consists of the next six months of the training program. Teachers work on integrating their science knowledge with different pedagogies and also try to use technology in their classroom. 

In the last level, which goes on for 18 months, teachers will learn to use the science content, pedagogies for science teaching and technology to support science education. In this phase, there will be less meetings but the teachers will learn more from designing lesson with TPACK themselves and reflecting on their own experiences in the classroom.

It was quite challenging to design for teachers, as I have never done that before and I do not have teaching experiences myself. A group of teachers is often more heterogeneous than a groups of students so for the context analysis you need to find out much more. In the design phase, you have to take into account workload and available time of the teachers for the training. But I think that the scientifIK program is quite interesting and unfortunately we are not going to implement it for real :(

In the next blogs I will go deeper into some other concepts of the design of the teacher program: the use of the TPACK model, the possible strenghts and weaknesses of the design and a general view on technology integration in education. For now, I would like to conclude with a cartoon which will be used in the scientifIK program...it highligths the difficulty of scientific concepts (even a ´simple´ one like why it is warmer in summer) and it shows that it is not that simple at all. We hope that certain fun cartoon will give someone the confidence to learn more about it, and that more people have difficulties with it!

If you are interested in more details of the scientifIK program, feel free to leave a reaction on my blogpost.

3 opmerkingen:

  1. Hi Christel, thank you for your reflection and for participating in my course! As you know I have my doubts about a program that takes 30 months.. I know you have good arguments for this, but I wonder if schools are willing to participate in such a program while they have to do so many other things too. It would be nice if we could start a debate here about the pro's and the con's of such a program!

  2. Hi Petra, that would be very nice! I think that it is indeed difficult for schools to participate in such programs, but I also think that this is a mindset that should change. In these times many complaints are about teachers feeling that they do not have enough career development opportunities and that single workshops or some more workshops do not really support their development as a teacher. It is often not sustainable. I think it is strange that in most companies employees get years and years to develop themselves and that in schools it should happen 'as fast as possible'. I think for the future it is important that schools focus more on long term, sustainable professional development, also to keep teachers satisfied within their jobs and to develop teachers' skills. In these programs, teachers should be guided by someone, a teacher-trainer etc, who also focusses on the teachers needs and desires to learn, this would definitely increase motivation! I think it is time for such a revolution, in which teachers are also able to join lifelonglearning :)

  3. Yes, I agree with you, but given the current situation at schools this is a difficult issue. We should find a good place/space/time either online or physical to discuss these things!