Scholarly article on topic 'Consulting the Educational Actors - What Do Romanian Science Teachers Really Need?'

Consulting the Educational Actors - What Do Romanian Science Teachers Really Need? Academic research paper on "Economics and business"

CC BY-NC-ND
0
0
Share paper
OECD Field of science
Keywords
{"training needs analysis" / "teacher professional development" / "lifelong learning" / "in-service training" / "Inquiry-based Science Education" / "PROFILES Project ;"}

Abstract of research paper on Economics and business, author of scientific article — Gabriel Gorghiu, Laura Monica Gorghiu, Luminiţa Mihaela Drăghicescu

Abstract All the recent changes made in the European education system - and also in the Romanian one - claim from the teaching staff to be actively involved in specific lifelong learning actions. On the other hand, schools must proceed to a clear self-assessment of their educational offer, and also to assess the extent on meeting new challenges and identifying the actual training needs.However, for designing effective training programs, it must accurately be assessed the real in-service teachers’ training needs. In this respect, the training needs analysis helps on determining the proper ways that can enhance the teachers’ professional development, schools performances and quality assurance standards. This paper presents the main results of the training needs analysis performed in the frame of the FP7 European Research Project “PROFILES - Professional Reflection-Oriented Focus on Inquiry-based Learning and Education through Science” (code: 5.2.2.1-SiS-2010- 2.2.1-266589), with the view to illustrate an accurate image of the actual professional level of Science teachers, but also to consider the conclusions of analysis as a basis for designing a specific training program that targets to improve the teaching activities, through promoting reflection-oriented teaching, pedagogical and scientific competences, Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE) and other related approaches which can be implemented in the educational environment.

Academic research paper on topic "Consulting the Educational Actors - What Do Romanian Science Teachers Really Need?"

Available online at www.sciencedirect.com

SciVerse ScienceDirect PfOCSCl ¡0

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 83 (2013) 528 - 534

2nd World Conference on Educational Technology Researches - WCETR2012

Consulting the Educational Actors - What Do Romanian Science

Teachers Really Need?

Gabriel Gorghiu a *, Laura Monica Gorghiu b, Lumini^a Mihaela Draghicescu c

aElectrical Engineering Faculty, Valahia University Targoviste, 18-24 Unirii Blvd., 130082 Targoviste, Romania bFaculty of Sciences and Arts, Valahia University Targoviste, 18-24 Unirii Blvd., 130082 Targoviste, Romania cFaculty of Humanities, Valahia University Targoviste, 35 Lt. Stancu Ion Str., 130105 Targoviste, Romania

Abstract

All the recent changes made in the European education system - and also in the Romanian one - claim from the teaching staff to be actively involved in specific lifelong learning actions. On the other hand, schools must proceed to a clear self-assessment of their educational offer, and also to assess the extent on meeting new challenges and identifying the actual training needs.However, for designing effective training programs, it must accurately be assessed the real in-service teachers' training needs. In this respect, the training needs analysis helps on determining the proper ways that can enhance the teachers' professional development, schools performances and quality assurance standards.This paper presents the main results of the training needs analysis performed in the frame of the FP7 European Research Project "PROFILES - Professional Reflection-Oriented Focus on Inquiry-based Learning and Education through Science" (code: 5.2.2.1-SiS-2010-2.2.1-266589), with the view to illustrate an accurate image of the actual professional level of Science teachers, but also to consider the conclusions of analysis as a basis for designing a specific training program that targets to improve the teaching activities, through promoting reflection-oriented teaching, pedagogical and scientific competences, Inquiry-based Science Education (IBSE) and other related approaches which can be implemented in the educational environment. © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hafize Keser Ankara University, Turkey

Keywords: training needs analysis, teacher professional development, lifelong learning, in-service training, Inquiry-based Science Education, PROFILES Project;

1. Introduction

In general, teachers' professional development finds its meaning starting from teachers' personal and professional lives, and it is claimed by the policy and school settings in which they are working (Day, 1999).

Generally, teachers have the opportunity to participate in a range of informal and formal activities that will assist them in the process of review, renewal, enhancement of thinking and practice, and, commitment of the mind and

* Corresponding Author: Gabriel Gorghiu. Tel.: +40-245-217683 E-mail address: ggorghiu@yahoo.com

1877-0428 © 2013 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Selection and/or peer-review under responsibility of Prof. Dr. Hafize Keser Ankara University, Turkey doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2013.06.101

heart - these will focus upon personal and professional purposes, individual and collective, inquiry-based and technical needs (Darling-Hammond, 1993; Hargreaves, 1994).

But first of all, an effective continuous professional development should address the specific needs of the teachers (Bredeson, 2003; Muijs, Day, Harris, & Lindsay, 2004). When those needs have been clearly identified, the activities need to be carefully planned for supporting teachers in applying the knowledge and teaching methodology creatively and confidently (Anderson, 2001). However, the best results are obtained whether the training program is formally and systematically planned and presented with the focus on enhancement of personal and professional growth by broadening knowledge, skills and positive attitudes (Collinson, 2000; Lessing, & De Witt, 2007).

2. Description of the procedure

An analysis for emphasizing the training needs aims to identify the correlation between the necessary competences to fulfill the specific teachers' roles, and respectively, to achieve particular skills in the teaching process (on the one hand), and the real level of teachers' knowledge (on the other hand). In relation to the training needs analysis, there can be structured training programs that meet the findings and transfer to teachers general and specific teaching skills. More, individual training needs are therefore admitted as fundamental benchmarks for the design and conduction of training programs (Farla, Ciolan, & Iucu, 2007).

In this respect, the training needs analysis performed in the frame of the FP7 European Research Project "PROFILES - Professional Reflection-Oriented Focus on Inquiry-based Learning and Education through Science" (code: 5.2.2.1-SiS-2010-2.2.1-266589), was to identify the particular Science teachers' needs in order to promote a continuous professional development program with the view to enhance their scientific and pedagogical skills and to promote Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE) through raising the self-efficacy of Science teachers to take ownership of more effective ways of teaching students, supported by stakeholders (PROFILES Consortium, 2010).

The needs analysis was based on an instrument that intended to determine the professional support and guidance needs of the teachers embarking on the PROFILES continuous professional development and intervention (Holbrook, 2011). The instrument included nine groups of components, summarizing 50 items containing pre-encoded answers, structured on a Likert-type assessment scale, with four clearly levels defined as: definitely not, rather not, necessary, very necessary.

In Dambovi^a County (Romania), 46 Science teachers were surveyed, being asked to express their confidence in certain skills, but also their needs and expectations for the topics dealt with in the training program.

3. Results and discussions

The first group of items is related to the meaning of the Nature of Science in the classroom setting - figure 1 illustrates that training needs are obvious in this sense, being distributed as follows (on average): definitely not -0.36%, rather not - 0.72%; necessary - 56.16%; very necessary - 42.75%.

80% 70%

30% 20%

Explain to students that science cannot provide complete answ ers to all questions.

Explain to students the gap between school science and actual scientific research.

Explain to students the difference betw een science and pseudoscience.

Explain to students how scientists w ork.

Explain to students the Ensure students can

difference betw een distinguish betw een a law

models and real and a theory. processes.

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 1: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Nature of Science topic

The second and third group of items are addressed to the Nature of Science education (Scientific and Technological Literacy and Education through Science) - figures 2 and 3 demonstrate that training needs are real and strongly claimed, presenting a distribution oriented to both necessary levels - (on average): definitely not -0.00%, rather not - 0.43%; necessary - 51.30%; very necessary - 48.26% (for Scientific and Technological Literacy) and definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 2.72%; necessary - 55.43%; very necessary - 41.85% (for Education through Science).

60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10%

Give a useful interpretation to the I use a social orientation Guide students to use the Guide students to think creatively Promote students thinking as well

expression "scientific and (dimension) to problems acquired knowledge and skills in and justify the socio-scientific as practical and predictive skills.

technological literacy". (situations) in science teaching. new situations (contexts). problems (issues).

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 2: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Scientific and Technological Literacy topic

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10%

Realize the general objectives of education within subject (science) teaching.

Specify the competencies that are suited to science teaching, based on the context of science.

Understand the purpose of PARSEL- Specify the learning outcomes in each type materials. class, so as to foster development of

students' knowledge, skills, attitudes and values.

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 3: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Education through Science topic

The fourth group of items is related to the Inquiry-Based Science Education concept in its various orientations and going beyond the learning of process skills - figure 4 shows that training needs are clearly highlighted, offering a distribution mostly concentrated to necessary - (on average): definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 3.26%; necessary - 63.59%; very necessary - 33.15%.

The fifth and sixth group of items appreciated the type of teaching, diversity of learning outcomes and operationalising of the 3 stage model (Holbrook, 2011) - a contextual beginning stage, a decontextualised scientific learning stage and a recontextualised stage to reconsider the contextual situation utilizing the science knowledge gained to develop reasoned decision making (Classroom Learning Environment and Student Motivation) - figures 5 and 6 illustrate that training needs are strongly required, having the following distribution - (on average): definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 0.87%; necessary - 47.83%; very necessary - 51.30% (for Classroom Learning Environment) and definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 1.09%; necessary - 55.43%; very necessary - 43.48% (for Education through Science).

Figure 4: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Inquiry-Based Science Education topic

80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Implement Consider Consider Promote Guide students Promote higher Promote Involve Promote Promote

student- students' prior students' students' to ask order thinking effective peer- students in students students

centred know ledge, wishes and communication questions and amongst peer learning learning creative argumentation

teaching in the attitudes and proposals for skills in a discuss the students through through group thinking. skills for socio-

classroom. skills. lesson variety of social (analysis, student group work of scientific

planning ways, both dimension of synthesis and work. various types decision-

(interact with orally and in scientific evaluation). (experimental, making.

student ideas). w ritten formats. problems. discussions, role playing, debates).

| □ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary | Figure 5: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Classroom Learning Environment

80% 70%

40% 30% 20% 10%

Create motivational challenges for students w ithin their capabilities.

Guide students to value their science learning as useful for life, lifelong learning and for their career choice.

Use media texts and Use (extract, draw, use) Encourage self-motivation Determine relevant topics,

video clips. interesting and suitable by students in science in the eyes of students.

examples of the history lessons. of science.

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 6: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Student Motivation

The seventh group of items involved the Assessment Strategies (especially formative assessment) - figure 7 emphasizes an important need for training on this component, being distributed as follows (on average): definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 2.61%; necessary - 60.43%; very necessary - 36.96%.

Finally, the eight and ninth group of items addressed the theoretical ideas associated with PROFILES teaching -social constructivism, motivation etc. - (Education Theories and Self Reflection) - figures 8 and 9 illustrate that training needs are evident, the distribution being concentrated to necessary - (on average): definitely not - 0.00%, rather not - 0.36%; necessary - 58.70%; very necessary - 37.68% (for Education Theories) and definitely not -1.09%, rather not - 3.26%; necessary - 57.61%; very necessary - 38.04% (for Self Reflection).

60% 50% 40% 30%

Use a variety of assessment strategies that are designed to measure competencies.

Undertake a range of formative Provide suitable positive Assess students' know ledge and assessment strategies w ith one's feedback to both the "more able" skills according to their portfolios. own students. and the "weaker" students.

Counting different levels of thinking (different types of questions) in test preparation.

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 7: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Assessment Strategies topic

80% 70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0%

r __ ___

Romote student learning

which focuses on storage in students' long term memory rather than short term.

Give meaning to ZPD (zone of proximal development).

Aware of SDT (self determination theory) to motivate students.

Dstinguish between Motivate student by Teach in a constructivist intrinsic and extrinsic valuing learned (material). manner so that students motivation of students. are guided to construct

meaning of knowledge.

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 8: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Education Theories

70% 60% 50% 40% 30% 20% 10%

Create self-reflective teaching videotapes.

Carry out action research to raise effectiveness for my teaching.

Modify science teaching modules to raise effectiveness for student learning.

Appreciate the meaning of self-efficacy (being both confident and competent).

□ Definitely Not ■ Rather not □ Necessary □ Very Necessary

Figure 9: Teachers' needs and expectations related to Self Reflection

4. Concluding remarks

The analysis of the training needs - expressed directly by a representative group of Romanian Science teachers -, offered a clear image on the national training directions: one which presents modern orientations in Science teaching and the other concentrated to Inquiry-Based Science Education.

The training program aims to meet the real challenges of knowledge society, and to provide educational services tailored to the training needs of the Science teachers, which allow the beneficiaries to achieve specific skills for the student-centered teaching process, but also methodological skills centered on the promotion of Inquiry-Based Science Education.

As is stipulated in PROFILES documents, the teachers selected to be part of PROFILES community have the opportunity to enhance their professionalism in a collaborative, needs-driven setting through becoming familiar with the PROFILES approach by (Bolte et al., 2011):

a) adapting and using PROFILES teaching materials in their teaching;

b) taking part in local and regional PROFILES teacher development seminars/workshops;

c) participating in PROFILES long-term teacher professional development courses which concentrate on promoting teacher self-efficacy of IBSE teaching, leading to teacher ownership of motivational strategies to enhance students' scientific literacy;

d) being actively involved in the PROFILES project network and in guiding other Science teachers to be aware of the PROFILES concept.

Last but not least, it is important to mention that the PROFILES approach has a major impact on students, as end-beneficiaries. For most of them, understanding Science means to become familiar with topics that help them when trying to explain real life situations or making efforts to improve their lives. In this respect, it will be also evaluated the effectiveness and impact of the teacher professional development program on students outcomes.

Acknowledgements

This work was funded through the Seventh Framework Programme "PROFILES - Professional Reflection Oriented Focus on Inquiry-based Learning and Education through Science" No. 5.2.2.1 - SiS-2010-2.2.1, Grant Agreement No. 266589, Supporting and coordinating actions on innovative methods in Science education: teacher training on inquiry based teaching methods on a large scale in Europe. The support offered by the European Commission as well as the Community Research and Development Information Service as responsible for the management of EU's programmes in the fields of research and innovation, through the project mentioned above, is gratefully acknowledged.

References

Anderson, J. (2001). The content and design of in-service teacher education and development. Paper presented at the National Teacher Education

Policy Conference, Midrand, 20-21 October 2001. Bolte, C., Streller, S., Holbrook, J., Rannikmae, M., Mamlok Naaman, R., Hofstein, A., & Rauch, F. (2011). Profiles: Professional Reflection-Oriented Focus on Inquiry based Learning and Education through Science, Proceedings of the European Science Educational Research Association (ESERA), Lyon, France (in press). Bredeson, P.V. (2003). Designs for Learning: A New Architecture for Professional Development in Schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, Inc.

Collinson, V. (2000). Staff development by any other name: Changing words or changing practices? The Educational Forum, 64(2), 124-132 Darling-Hammond, L. (1993). Reframing the school reform agenda: Developing capacity for school transformation. Phi Delta Kappan, 74(10), 753-761.

Day, C. (1999). Developing Teachers: The Challenges of Lifelong Learning. New York: RoutledgeFalmer, Taylor & Francis Group.

Farla, T. (coord.), Ciolan, L., & Iucu, R. (2007). Analiza nevoilor de formare: ghid pentru pregatirea, implementarea §i interpretarea datelor

analizei nevoilor de formare in §coli. Bucure^ti: Editura Atelier Didactic. Hargreaves, A. (1994). Changing teachers, changing times: Teachers' work and culture in the postmodern age. New York: Teachers College Press.

Holbrook, J. (2011). The PROFILES Guidebook - Section A: An Introduction to PROFILES, Sub-part 2: Key Terms used in PROFILES and their intended meaning. Unpublished.

Holbrook, J. (2011). The PROFILES Guidebook - Section B: Operationalising the Professional Development of Teachers, Sub-part 2: Identifying

Teacher Needs for a Professional Development Programme. Unpublished. Lessing, A., & De Witt, M. (2007). The value of continuous professional development: Teacher perceptions. South African Journal of Education, 27(1), 53-67.

Muijs, D., Day, C., Harris, A., & Lindsay, G. (2004). Evaluating CPD: an overview, In: C. Day, & J. Sachs (Eds.), International handbook on the

continuing professional development of teachers (pp. 291-310). Buckingham: Open University Press. PROFILES Consortium. (2010). FP7 Negotiation Guidance Notes - Coordination and Support Actions. Annex I - Description of Work. Unpublished.