Education

Elementary Partnership

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Science  18 Dec 2009:
Vol. 326, Issue 5960, pp. 1590-1591
DOI: 10.1126/science.326.5960.1590-d

The Elementary Science Education Partnership (ESEP) was created to bring elementary school teachers into working partnerships with science-literate college students, who would carry their knowledge, confidence, and enthusiasm for science into the teachers' classrooms. Goebel et al. report the implementation and preliminary impact of the program. ESEP hired experienced educators and administrators to guide the professional development of the classroom teacher mentors, including instruction at summer institutes in both the science content and pedagogical strategies required to teach a science kit. These teacher mentors, called SKIL teachers, went on to train their colleagues at their home schools. Undergraduates completed a one-semester course where they learned inquiry-based approaches to science learning and science pedagogy. For one semester, undergraduate and teacher pairs committed 3 to 4 hours per week to hands-on activity in the classroom. It became an honor among teachers and administrators to be chosen to participate in the program. Evaluation showed that teachers mentored by SKIL teachers were better able to design and implement lessons and were more capable of conveying scientific subject matter than those who were not mentored. Undergraduates also reported gains in their own understanding of science as a result of having taught basic elements.

CBE Life Sci. Edu.8, 239 (2009).

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