Essays on Teacher Preparation by Workshop Participants

picture of Karen Grove

Karen Grove

Department of Geosciences
San Francisco State University
San Francisco, California

Department of Geosciences, San Francisco State University (SFSU)
Strengths in Offerings for Pre-service Teachers

Recruiting, mentoring and advising future teachers
The Geosciences Department maintains a web site with information about the Single Subject Credential in Geosciences, and one faculty member (Dr. John Monteverdi) serves as the Credential Advisor. Dr. Monteverdi keeps the web site updated with current information and advises students about their options.

The role of introductory courses in teacher preparation
Dr. David Dempsey and other Geoscience and Education faculty members generated funding to create two new courses for pre-service teachers. One course, called Planetary Climate Change, was funded by the NASA-NOVA program. It is an interdisciplinary course (geology, meteorology, and oceanography) that investigates the processes that create climate and that cause climate to change. The course counts as an upper-division breadth requirement for students completing single-subject credentials to teach science at the high school level.

A second course, called Investigating Air, Sea and Land Interactions, was funded by the NSF-CCLI program. It counts as a Physical Science core requirement for the Liberal Studies major, which includes those students completing a multi-subject credential to teach at the elementary or middle school level. This course trains students to develop problem-solving and collaborative learning skills and meets the pre-service K-8 teacher subject matter preparation standards for earth and space sciences.

In most of its introductory-level courses, Geoscience Department faculty aim to acquaint students with the methods of science, to provide opportunities for engagement with real-world data, and to teach with student-centered pedagogies.

Research and teaching experiences for future teachers
Department faculty obtained funding from the NSF-OEDG program to create a new outreach program for local high school teachers and students -- SF-ROCKS (Reaching our to Communities and Kids with Science in San Francisco). Although geared primarily to in-service teachers, SF-ROCKS also provides opportunities for college students from SFSU and the nearby community college who are interested in a teaching career to act as interns in the high schools (see the Intern section of the SF-ROCKS page).

Links between education and geoscience departments
Geoscience faculty have collaborated with faculty in the College of Education to obtain funding for two courses for pre-service teachers and to teach these courses. A third new 1-unit course was developed to train pre-service teachers as peer-facilitators, to support the problem-based learning approached used in the G/M 309 course (see above). The course is co-taught by education and geoscience faculty and provides pre-service teachers with opportunities to engage in course development and implementation.