The purpose of this qualitative case study research was to ascertain the significance of the professional development workshops organized by a science center in a Midwestern city of the United States. The research investigated the effect the workshop had on the instructional practice of the participating elementary science teachers. This study was guided by the following research question: How do the professional development programs at a science center help teachers change the way they teach and consider science in their classroom? The six elementary school teachers in this study were identified as a result of their participation in the science center workshop. Teachers’ self-efficacy regarding the teaching of science was sought through a Likert-style survey and triangulated with classroom observations and interviews of individual teachers. The findings of this study revealed two overarching themes: one, that the workshops were beneficial to some and two, that it did not improve instructional practice of others. The paper will identify the reasons given by the teachers why they thought the workshop was relevant and beneficial or not. Though this study utilized a small sample of teachers, those involved in this study felt they acquired knowledge that would be either beneficial to them or to their students and they particularly enjoyed the inquiry-based activities that were conducted at the science center workshop. This study contributes to research that informs school administrators of the need for continued teacher professional development.
Queen Ogbomo, Tennessee Technological University, United States
Stream: Primary and secondary education
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