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The “Scientization” of Science Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in South Africa


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The “Scientization” of Science Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in South Africa

  1. 1. The “Scientization” of Science Teacher Preparation and Professional Development in South Africa Alexander W. Wiseman Lehigh University [email_address] Presented at the 2011 Comparative and International Education Society Annual Meeting Montreal, Canada
  2. 2. “ Scientization” & Contextualization <ul><li>“The process of disciplining and rationalizing the uncertainties of modern social environments.” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Educational models are adopted worldwide through teacher preparation and professional development. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Teacher preparation and professional development is embedded both in the scientization phenomenon and national societal contexts. </li></ul></ul>___ Drori, G. S., Jang, Y. S., & Meyer, J. W. (2006). Sources of Rationalized Governance: Cross-National Longitudinal Analysis, 1985-2002. Administrative Science Quarterly, 51, 205-229. Treu, P., Olivier, M. A. J., Bean, P., & Van der Walt, J. L. (2010). A Group of Educators' Stance on the Implementation of South Africa's Further Education and Training Curriculum. Teaching and Teacher Education: An International Journal of Research and Studies, 26(2), 343-350.
  3. 3. Background & Context <ul><li>Shortage of skilled science teachers </li></ul><ul><li>Necessity of linking indigenous knowledge to both science education curricula and pedagogy </li></ul><ul><li>South Africa ranked last among all TIMSS countries in 1995, 1999, and 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Historical inequalities (apartheid) </li></ul>___ Hammett, D. (2008). Disrespecting Teacher: The Decline in Social Standing of Teachers in Cape Town, South Africa. International Journal of Educational Development, 28(3), 340-347. Howie, S., & Scherman, V. (2008). The Achievement Gap between Science Classrooms and Historic Inequalities. Studies in Educational Evaluation, 34(2), 118-130. Ogunniyi, M. B. (2007). Teachers' Stances and Practical Arguments Regarding a Science-Indigenous Knowledge Curriculum: Part 1. International Journal of Science Education, 29(8), 963-986. Steyn, H. J., & Mentz, E. (2008). Teacher Training in South Africa: The Integrated Model as Viable Option. South African Journal of Higher Education, 22(3), 679-691.
  4. 4. Relevance of Science Education <ul><li>Science performance is often a bellwether for economic growth and social development. </li></ul><ul><li>As a country dealing with a legacy of extreme social and political inequality, this low science performance is especially significant. </li></ul>___ Ramirez, F. O., Luo, X., Schofer, E., & Meyer, J. W. (2006). Student Achievement and National Economic Growth. American Journal of Education, 113(1), 1-30.
  5. 5. Goal of Study <ul><li>Identify the impact of scientization on South African science teaching: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evidence-based decision-making </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of ‘expert’ science knowledge </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Routinization of science pedagogy </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. TIMSS 2003 <ul><li>Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) </li></ul><ul><li>2003 (last year South Africa participated) </li></ul><ul><li>13-year-old (8 th grade equivalent) </li></ul><ul><li>Student science assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Background questionnaires (students, science teachers, school principals/heads) </li></ul>___ Martin, M. O. (Ed.). (2005). TIMSS 2003 User Guide for the International Database. Chestnut Hill, MA: TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center, Lynch School of Education, Boston College.
  7. 7. <ul><li>What qualifications or contextual factors characterize science teachers in South Africa? </li></ul><ul><li>____________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Science teacher age (by category) </li></ul><ul><li>Science teacher sex (female/male) </li></ul><ul><li>Average years teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Highest level of formal education completed </li></ul><ul><li>Post-secondary education major/main area of study </li></ul><ul><li>First degree (ISCED 5A) required to become a science teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Probationary period required to become a science teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum number of education courses required to become a science teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Minimum number of science courses required to become a science teacher </li></ul><ul><li>Pass a licensing exam to become a science teacher </li></ul>
  8. 9. Science Teacher Sex
  9. 15. <ul><li>How do science teachers in South Africa and other sub-Saharan African comparison countries teach science? </li></ul><ul><li>____________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Indicators about how science teachers think about teaching science (BTBSADMR, BTBSADHY, BTBSADME, BTBSADCO, BTBSADAN, BTBSADSC, BTBSADTA, BTBSADMO, BTBSADDI) </li></ul>
  10. 17. <ul><li>What characterizes science-related professional development opportunities for teachers in South African schools and comparison countries? </li></ul><ul><li>____________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Types of professional development activities (BTBGOTDC, BTBGOTPM, BTBGOTVT, BTBGOTAT) </li></ul><ul><li>Content of professional development activities (BTBSPDST, BTBSPDSP, BTBSPDSC, BTBSPDIT, BTBGPDIN, BTBSPDSA) </li></ul>
  11. 23. <ul><li>What measurable impact do preparation and professional development programs have on teaching methods implemented by science teachers in South Africa? </li></ul><ul><li>____________________________________________ </li></ul><ul><li>Indicators of science teaching methods (BTBSCSWD, BTBSCSFT, BTBSCSDP, BTBSCSEI, BTBSCSSG, BTBSCSWE, BTBSCSRO, BTBSCSIT, BTBSCSLN, BTBSCSDL, BTBSCSPW) </li></ul><ul><li>TeachingMethod = b0 + b1TeacherChars + b2TeacherThink + b3ProfDev + e </li></ul>