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Essays on Teacher Preparation by Workshop Participants


Ellen Metzger

San Jose State University
San Jose, California



Earth System Science Teacher Education at San Jose State University

San Jose State University's Geology Department has a long-term commitment to Earth system science education, and two of its members have joint appointments in Geology and the Science Education Program of the College of Science. The Department has implemented a multidimensional approach to teacher education that provides pre-service and in-serve educators with a wide array of course options and professional development opportunities.

  • Our BA Earth Science, Preparation for Teaching is designed for students interested in becoming middle or high school teachers and is approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as subject matter preparation for a single subject credential with a concentration in geoscience.

  • The Department has developed "Earth Systems and the Environment", an introductory Earth and space science course that targets pre-service teachers within SJSU's multiple and single subject credential programs. The curriculum satisfies California subject matter competency requirements in the geosciences, and infuses pedagogy into the syllabus. Course activities are designed for teachers' adaptation in their own classrooms.

  • Through a three-grant from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies and the Earth System Science Education Alliance (ESSEA), we are offering NASA-approved, on-line graduate courses in Earth System Science for middle and high school teachers. Our ESSEA courses have permanent designations in the SJSU catalog and we will continue to offer them in the future.

  • The Bay Area Earth Science Institute (BAESI) is a professional development program for future and practicing teachers which was established in 1990 with support from the National Science Foundation, ChevronTexaco, San Jose State University and a consortium of community partners. The Institute has served 410 teachers in two-to-four week summer workshops and more than 1,000 teachers have participated in BAESI's on-going weekend workshops and field trips. Teachers may receive inexpensive university credits for their participation in these activities. BAESI sustains a network of Bay Area teachers via its Website and newsletter, and makes classroom materials available through its Earth Science Resource Center.

  • SJSU's M.A. in Natural Science, a combined effort of the Departments of Geology and Biology and Program in Science Education, is a multidisciplinary graduate program designed for single-subject credential science teachers. It supplies a flexible curriculum customized to individual needs that combines science course work with a science education project. Several BAESI alumni have enhanced their Earth science knowledge and teaching skills through such projects as field guides to local sites of geological interest and activities-based modules for teaching about earthquakes, rocks and minerals, water quality, and weather.