Determining Optimal Professional Development Formats: A Q-Methodology Study of Science Teachers’ Preferences
The necessity for meeting the professional renewal needs for science teachers in the US has generated abundant research on effective professional development (PD). Yet efforts in the state of Nebraska continue to demonstrate low enrollments in science teacher PD programs. Therefore, an innovation in research was needed to discover the beliefs and expectations about science teacher PD. A combination of Q methodology and focus group discussions with 29 science teachers in six geographical areas of the state identified three PD-seeking factors: the Scientists, the Veterans and the Entrepreneurs. The Scientists yearn to increase their own science knowledge and enable authentic science learning for students. Veterans seek new ideas and resources to improve science student learning and especially prefer stipend-supported PD options. Entrepreneurs desire opportunities to enhance teaching practices and exchange teaching ideas with scientists and other science teachers. Those who design PD for science teachers will benefit from understanding these three factors and the resulting research-informed suggestions for organizing appropriate PD models to satisfy the needs of each teacher factor.
Beverly DeVore-Wedding, Julie Thomas, & Diane Montgomery. (2018). Determining Optimal Professional Development Formats: A Q-Methodology Study of Science Teachers’ Preferences. Operant Subjectivity. doi:10.15133/j.os.2018.001