Why is it Important for Geoscience Faculty to be Involved in Professional Development Opportunities for Practicing Teachers?
Created by Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Ph.D., SERC, Carleton College.
The Role of Scientists in the Professional Development of Science Teachers
Chapter 3, NRC, 1996
A Major Impact on Students and Future Citizens
If you choose to work effectively with only one science teacher, that teacher will pass on your influence to hundreds of students. Many students only experience Earth science during their K-12 education, yet these students will become the next generation of global citizens and will need to address complex scientific issues, many of which are based in the earth sciences (for example, global climate change, resource management, and space exploration). Thus, it is even more vital for geoscience faculty to support practicing teachers and K-12 students.
The Key to Better Geoscience Students
Future geoscientists typically do not enter college having already made the decision to become geoscientists. Most likely, these students have not benefited from an enthusiastic and knowledgeable Earth science teacher in their K-12 experience. Geoscience faculty who provide professional development experiences that inspire Earth science teachers will benefit as these teachers encourage their talented students to pursue geoscience degrees in college.
Faculty Reap the Benefits
In general, faculty involved in the professional development and support of Earth science teachers are more conscious of their own educational endeavors as reflected by improved teaching in their own college classrooms (p. 71, NRC, 1996). Research programs benefit because the professional development of practicing teachers can be incorporated into grant proposals, as well as developed into research papers on education-related topics. Finally, collaboration between faculty interested in science education creates a supportive network of colleagues across the country.
David C. Gosselin Professor, University of Nebraska, Lincoln
2003 Preparing the Geoscience Workforce workshop
A Call for Action
Leaders of national science agencies have called for the active participation of scientists in K-12 science education. Read what they have advocated for scientists:
- The National Academy of Sciences
Dr. Bruce Alberts, President, NAS
- National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Dr. Adena Williams Loston, Chief Education Officer, NASA
- National Science Foundation
- National Research Council