“SERP field sites are structured as a set of three closely connected, and partially overlapping, groups: The Core Group, The Design Team, and the Research Team.”
San Francisco Field Site
Current Research Collaborations
How do we design professional development (PD) that prepares science teachers to engage students in structured discussions that promote perspective taking and complex reasoning?
We argue that preparing teachers to engage in structured discussion that promotes perspective taking, complex reasoning, and academic language is the greatest challenge in improving reading comprehension. In collaboration with the Center to Support Excellence in Teaching (CSET) at Stanford, the SERP research team are co-designing a PD model with 4-8th grade science teachers that catalyzes comprehension through discussion and debate in science.
The professional development model has several goals. The first is to have
teachers conceptualize their subject differently. Rather than conceiving of science solely as a body of knowledge to be transmitted, they need the opportunity to see for themselves that an essential element of the construction of knowledge in science is the product of argument and counter-argument and is the result of a set of conjectures which are evaluated against the evidence. Thus the first stage of the PD will require exploration of central ideas.
Second, there is a need to develop a conception of pedagogy from one which has
traditionally had little concern for text to one where teachers recognize that engaging with text is central to learning science (Wellington & Osborne, 2001). Such an understanding would include recognition that the simple view of reading misrepresents the difficulty and complexity of constructing meaning.
Third, teachers will be given the opportunity to explore the repertoire of pedagogic
strategies that research suggests are necessary to scaffold students in the 3 processes of coming to terms with academic language, encouraging students to articulate an interpretation (taking a perspective), and providing the opportunity to engage in complex reasoning. This is achieved by a focus on three features of classrooms: learning talk, teacher talk, and organizing classroom interactions (Alexander, 2008).
This work draws on Osborne’s prior work on teaching ideas, evidence and meaning in science using structures they have developed to support dialogic and argumentative interaction. The SERP team will seek to develop in replicable form an approach to pedagogy that establishes a classroom environment which is collective in that teachers and children address learning tasks together; reciprocal in that teachers and children listen to each other and consider alternative viewpoints; supportive in that children articulate their ideas freely helping each other to reach common understandings; cumulative in that teachers and children build on their own and each others’ ideas; and purposeful in that teachers plan and facilitate dialogic teaching with well defined educational goals in view (Alexander, 2005).
Exploratory work began with a small group of middle school teachers in the fall of 2010 and the first full cohort will begin their summer institute this summer from June 20-24, 2011 at Stanford University.
Timeline: August 2010 to June 2015
Jeanne D’Arcy, Supervisor, Mathematics and Science
Deb Farkas, Instructional Support Specialist, Middle School Science
Jeannie Pon, Assistant Superintendent for Middle Schools
Karen Clayman, A.P. Giannini Middle School
Dahv Ellingson, Lawton K8 Alternative School
Lisa Ernst, Alice Fong Yu K8 Alternative School
Brendan Furey, Visitacion Valley Middle School
Theresa Heckathorne, Marina Middle School
Patricia Kudritzki, Aptos Middle School
Jennifer Lim, Francisco Middle School
Heidi Van De Wege, A.P. Giannini Middle School
Tina Cheuk, Assistant Director, SERP
Jonathan Osborne, Professor of Education, Stanford University
Alexis Patterson, Graduate student, Stanford University
Diego Roman, Graduate student, Stanford University