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Podcast Interview Explores Implications of New Science Standards for Preparing Teachers

What does strong preservice preparation look like for teaching the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)? This question is explored in an article published in the May/June 2017 issue of the Journal of Teacher Education, an issue that also includes several other articles on the topic of the implications for teacher preparation of the Common Core and other new PK-12 learning standards.

A recent podcast interview for the JTE Insider blog provides insights from Mark Windschitl of the University of Washington and David Stroupe of Michigan State University, authors of the article “The Three-Story Challenge: Implications of the Next Generation Science Standards for Teacher Preparation.” JTE Graduate Assistant Bernadette Castillo conducted the interview.

This article, Stroupe said, arose from the need to adopt a “stance about really strong teacher preparation” to address the new standards.

“We are trying to turn a corner in the science education community,” Windschitl said. The NGSS differ substantially from earlier science standards, drawing on research in many areas, including equity and various pedagogical considerations as well as content breadth and depth. In other words, he said, they’re about changing “the way science is taught, not just which ideas get taught.”

The authors chose an architectural metaphor to illustrate the levels engaged in the new standards: one for student expectations, another for teachers, and a third for teacher educators.

“We wanted to think more deeply about what the Next Generation [Science Standards] movement means for teacher educators,” Stroupe explained. “We don’t want them to just become a checklist; we want to actually use the NGSS to fundamentally shift what happens in classrooms,” reflecting the adjustment from simply knowledge-based to practice-based standards.

The article is summarized in the following abstract:

The foundational document of the current science standards movement – the Framework for K-12 Science Education – is grounded in research about how students from diverse backgrounds learn science and the conditions under which they can participate in knowledge-building activities of the discipline. We argue that teacher educators should use powerful principles for instruction, derived from the research referenced in the Framework, to inform the design of courses and other preparatory experiences for novices. This implementation strategy contrasts with an alignment approach, in which novices would be asked to familiarize themselves with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), integrate student performance expectations into lesson plans, and teach activities similar to those described in the NGSS. We describe the more principled approach as a “three-story challenge” in which students, teachers, and teacher educators have responsibilities to learn and to take up new roles in the educational system that are fundamentally different from the status quo.

Listen to the podcast interview here, and read the article here. (Remember, AACTE members can access the article free if they log in on AACTE’s website first. Just click the blue button on this page.)

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