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Using Multiple Lenses to Investigate the Development of Content Knowledge and Teaching Practices in Relationship to Learning Opportunities

Primary Investigator(s): Elizabeth Davis, Annemarie Palincsar

Funding Agency: Spencer Foundation

Period: 9/1/2015 - ongoing

This project will advance understanding of education practice and its development and improvement. We will investigate, using complementary conceptual frameworks, how novice elementary teachers develop—from program entry through their first year of teaching—content knowledge and high-leverage teaching practices for ambitious science teaching. We will describe trajectories of the development of this knowledge and practice over time and connect those trajectories to characteristics of the program, the novice teachers, and the schools in which they teach. Elementary science is taking on increasing importance, yet novices face challenges in learning to teach science. At the elementary level, preparing teachers to teach science well must include attending to their preparation to teach the reading, writing, mathematics, and oral language competence that support science learning. Indeed, we contend that elementary teacher preparation must always be conceived of at the level of a program, rather than at the level of specific courses or field work, because of the nature of elementary teaching. This project will take place in a coherent, practice-oriented, innovative elementary teacher education program with an extensive research infrastructure in place. We will use a staggered-start, two-cohort, multi-level longitudinal study design. Data will include program assessments, video records of science teaching, interviews, and other program materials.