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Celeste Meijs, Fleur R. Prinsen & Maarten F. de Laat:  Social learning as approach for teacher professional development; how well does it suit them?

Abstract

Learning from others has been reported as a productive approach for teacher Professional Development (PD) and is seen as a valuable addition to formal PD. Specific insights into whether social learning suits teachers is still lacking. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to develop and apply an instrument to assess social learning mindedness of teachers. A questionnaire called the “Quiz: Social learning, how does it suit me?” was developed and its reliability and factor structure were explored. A total of 110 teachers, ranging from primary school to pre-university education filled out the Quiz. Results indicated that the teachers were already quite social learning minded; they were positively oriented towards social learning. Social learning mindedness encompassed five underlying factors including counteracting social-learning preferences, teachers’ opinions and preferences related to learning from colleagues/others, their orientation towards collaboration in new approaches to PD, an autonomy factor, and a more general attitude towards knowledge dissemination. Mostly, teachers like to explain and share their knowledge, like to collaborate with others to enhance their knowledge and ask others for advice if they have a problem. At the same time, they want some control over their PD (e.g. the outcomes). The teachers in this sample did not show much preferences that would counteract social learning, leading to the conclusion that social learning suits teachers as a form of PD. The Quiz, which is accessible online (in Dutch), is a useful tool for teachers to quickly get acquainted with social learning.

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Renate Prins, Lucy Avraamidou & Martin Goedhart: Tell me a Story: the use of narrative as a learning tool for natural selection​

Abstract

Grounded within literature pointing to the value of narrative in communicating scientific information, the purpose of this study was to examine the use of stories as a tool for teaching about natural selection in the context of school science. The study utilizes a mixed method, case study approach which focuses on the design, implementation, and evaluation of narrative-based curriculum materials. The data consisted of questionnaires, classroom observations, and interviews with the students and teachers. The analysis of the data showed that most of the students developed adequate scientific understandings about natural selection and they perceived the narrative as easier to comprehend than the textbook. The findings speak to the need for examining ways of blending narrative effectively into science lessons.

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