What Happens After The Teacher Training Experience?By Diana Wehrell-Grabowski on November 15, 2011 in Science Education In The News, Teacher Training Workshops
I’ve been conducting hands-on-minds-on teacher training workshops since 1987 throughout the nation and lately conducting teacher training abroad as well. With over 650 teacher training workshops under my belt from 3 hour sessions to 10-day institutes one constant remains the same, “Change comes from within.” For the most part teachers are willing to try new teaching methods within their classroom. However, there are always the few teachers that are resistant to change their ways. Attending a teacher training workshop is only the first step to making real change within the classroom, what teachers choose to do with what they learned is the determining factor as to whether the training experience was valuable. The point is, “change comes from within.” The movement to implement inquiry-based science practices and learning within all K-12 science classrooms has been on the forefront of education reform for close to twenty-years. Yet there are still so many teachers who are unaware of what an inquiry-based science classroom really looks like. What is the role of the teacher and the student in an inquiry-based science classroom? Essentially, it’s up to the individual teacher to decide what form of inquiry-science best fits their teaching style as well as the group of students to whom they are teaching. One teacher may choose to use a structured inquiry format, while another chooses a guided approach, and yet another implements an open-ended inquiry approach. It’s difficult enough to be an excellent science teacher, let alone master effective inquiry-based practices on a daily-basis. I found a great article by Carl J. Wenning, Department of Physics, Illinois State University Implementing inquiry-based instruction in the science classroom: A new model for solving the improvement-of-practice problem. Wenning’s article brings to light the difficulty of actually implementing inquiry-oriented pedagogical practices within the classroom. Just because a teacher has attended inquiry-based professional staff development, and has learned how to conduct scientific inquiry does not automatically translate to implementation of inquiry-based instruction. In the end, I do believe change must come from within. A teacher who is not comfortable with inquiry-oriented pedagogical practices is not going to change their existing practices, it’s just that simple. To read Wenning’s article in detail see the following link in the Journal of Physics Teacher Education.