Initial Publication Date: May 25, 2006

Individual Faculty Opportunities for Involvement in Practicing Teacher Professional Development

Created by Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Ph.D., SERC, Carleton College.

Listed below (by level of time commitment) are common ways that faculty get involved in the professional development of teachers along with specific program examples. To view all programs, browse the programs collection.

Teach Professional Development Courses for Teachers

Get involved in the teacher preparation and professional development programs already offered by your department or institution by teaching a professional development course. Remember that practicing teachers often would like field experiences and that courses offered in the evenings, on weekends, and during the summer may best suit their schedules.

Also, many of the students in your intro-level courses may be future teachers. For more information on this, refer to Introductory Courses and Supporting Preservice Students in the Geoscience Major.

Involve Teachers in Your Research Program

Hire local teachers as research assistants in your lab or involve local teachers in education-related research that interests you. Allow students in your courses to develop teaching units based on their research projects and then work with a local teacher to assess the usefulness of these units.

Collaborate with Educators

Get involved in the professional development of science teachers that occurs in the education department at your institution. Collaborate with educators to offer workshops and other experiences for practicing teachers. Or team-teach a science methods course with faculty from the education department.

Include Education in your Research Proposals

Incorporate any of these education-related ideas and more into your research proposals as part of a "broader impact" statement (learn more here). There may be a local agency or group set up to assist you in connecting your abilities and resources with what is needed by the local K-12 science community (specific examples coming soon). Or you can contact a teacher, school, or school district to find out what would be useful for local teachers and students. Be sure to work based on the current needs of local teachers, as those materials or programs will be of most service.

Assist in Developing K-12 Curriculum and Professional Development Programs

There are many regional and national organizations that design science curricula and offer professional development opportunities for practicing science teachers. Individual faculty can get involved by contacting these organizations and proposing to assist in developing various materials and programs.