Future Elementary Teachers Change Phase: The Transformative Power of Service-Learning in Science Education

Wednesday 3:15pm REC Center Medium Ice Overlook Room


Jason Szymanski, Monroe Community College
Pre-professional, classroom experiences are the hallmarks of teacher-preparation programs. With increasingly more stringent federal and state requirements, the need for well-prepared teachers has never been greater. Service-learning has been shown to be a highly-effective teaching practice that connects students with their communities (Eyler, Giles, and Braxton, 1997). For the past three semesters, pre-service teachers at Monroe Community College (MCC) have planned and implemented inquiry-based, physical science lessons at Ivan L. Green Primary School, East Irondequoit Central School District, in Rochester, NY. This service-learning experience is a component of the MCC course, SCI131, Integrated Science for Future Teachers—The Physical World. The goal of this project was for pre-service teachers to gain hands-on experience applying the method of inquiry in a K-6 classroom setting. Pre-service teachers taught in peer groups, performing a series of short demonstrations that illustrated weather-related concepts and the phases of matter (NYS Science Standards 2.1 and 3.2, respectively). Their planning included the research and development of all teaching materials, with consideration of individual learning styles and special needs. Ivan L. Green students were then divided into small groups and rotated through a series of interactive-science stations, spending about 15-minutes at each station. Upon completion of their projects, MCC students submitted written reflections and presented their results to peers. The pre-service teachers' confidence in, and attitude towards, teaching science dramatically increased.

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