Earth Science Teacher Education Group

Who are we?

Faculty who teach Earth and space content courses designed for K-12 pre-service and in-service teachers and those who are interested in these issues. Disciplines may include geoscience, environmental science, astronomy, meteorology, Earth and space science, etc.

What is our motivation?

Teaching and supporting current and future K-12 teachers of Earth science has its own unique issues, challenges, and strategies. Often, faculty who teach Earth and space science content courses for K-12 educators (both pre-service and in-service) are the sole Earth and space science teacher educator within their content department or perhaps share this role with one other faculty member. Faculty in these roles come from many different backgrounds -- scientists with a strong interest in science education but no formal training, educators interested primarily in science education, faculty who simply fell into the role because no one else was willing to do it, etc. This group seeks to identify these "Lone Rangers" with varying backgrounds, connect them to each other, and foster communcation and collaborations surrounding the issues faced by Earth science teacher educators.

What are our goals?

We want to...

  • Find and connect pre-service and in-service Earth science K-12 teacher educators from across the country.
  • Define our community, its unique needs and challenges.
  • Establish a sense of identify for members of this community.
  • Create a forum for discussing issues related to Earth science teacher education.
  • Begin a dialog about issues that we face as Earth science teacher educators.
  • Identify whether and to what extent NAGT members would support the creation of a formal division.

What are some of the issues we face?

Initial conversations have identified some of the issues facing Earth science teacher educators such as:

  • Science and Math phobias in both education majors and in-service teachers (especially at the elementary and middle-school levels).
  • Attrition of high-school level students out of the Earth Science Education track and into a more traditional geoscience major.
  • Teaching semester-long classes for pre-service education majors.
  • Teaching upper-level classes with a mix of pre-service education and non-education students.
  • Teaching summer, weekend, or evening workshops for in-service teachers.
  • Working effectively with Education Departments and Colleges.
  • Overcoming the bias of other science faculty that "science education courses are not 'real' science courses."
  • Modeling the best practices of science teaching.
  • State Science Standards -- How do we teach everything from the center of the Earth to the outer reaches of the Universe, from 14 billion years ago to present and into the future in our alloted classes?
  • Accreditation requirements.

Are you interested? Here's how you can get involved:

  • Join our 'listserv' and participate in the discussion.
  • Submit an abstract to our 2012 GSA Annual Meeting technical session Teaching Teachers: Examples of Successful Geoscience Content Courses and Workshops for Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers.
    • Session T76. This technical session brings together presentations that illustrate courses or lessons designed for pre-service or in-service teachers including geoscience content courses, field-based courses, and summer workshops.
    • Sponsored by the GSA Geoscience Education Division and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.
    • Contact Kyle Gray, Jennifer Anderson, or Amy Ellwein for more information.
  • Email Jennifer Anderson and tell her a bit about yourself and your role in Earth Science Teacher Education. She is collecting information about "Who we are" to include in a GSA talk this fall, so send her your name, job title, department, university, courses you teach, issues that you face in your work, etc.
  • Invite others to join our community!

Contact us:

Kyle Gray, University of Northern Iowa

Jennifer L. B. Anderson, Winona State University