Member Institution Saint Mary's College (IN)
Saint Mary's College (IN)
Joseph Bellina, Jr.
Professor of Physics
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The support for teachers by the Department of Chemistry and Physics at Saint Mary's College serves both pre-service and in-service teachers.
Pre-service elementary, middle school, and non-science, non-math secondary teachers satisfy the college science requirement by taking a two-semester course in Physics by Inquiry (PBI), a student centered guided inquiry curriculum developed by Lillian C. McDermott and the Physics Education Research group at the University of Washington. Pre-service secondary math and science students are encouraged to take a semester of Physics by Inquiry as an elective. Since the courses taught in the education department emphasize a constructivist agenda, our PBI course also serves as an unofficial laboratory in education. The students learn the content, and see the process modeled by their science teachers.
In-service teachers are supported by week-long summer workshops that focus on the process of teaching by student-centered guided inquiry. The first workshop focuses on the nature of science, learning science as scientists learn science, by guided inquiry, how that manifests itself in the classroom, and the role of misconceptions. The second workshop supports the teachers in their chosen curriculum and emphasizes the use of science notebook as a tool to engage student learning. We do not use a teacher leader model, but instead do professional development for every teacher who is willing to cooperate. We are recently worked with all the elementary teachers in a local school district. With our assistance the district chose to adopt the student centered science modular curriculum, FOSS. We have supported the adoption with a three year grant from the Indiana State Dept of Education that has recently ended.
We serve the teachers in the state by being a beacon for guide inquiry. We present workshops and talks on all aspects of teaching by guided inquiry at the state science teacher's meeting and do professional development for school districts as requested. In this work we maintain an informal professional collaboration with the Educational Development Center in Newton, Mass.