Online professional development boosts teachers' confidence, knowledge
Multiple factors go into making an effective professional development (PD) program for K-12 teachers. Focusing on content, active learning, collaboration and coaching support and using models of effective teaching can broaden the knowledge of science teachers. However, many teachers are short on the resources needed to attend one-time short-term PD programs. Additionally, there is little data on the effect of national PD programs on student achievement. The results of one online PD program for teachers will be shared today as part of American Physiological Society's (APS's) Institute on Teaching and Learning in Madison, Wis.
APS analyzed the impact of its 10-month online Six Star Science Online Teacher Professional Development Program. The program focused on boosting confidence, knowledge and actual use in multiple areas, such as STEM career education, scientific content, equity and diversity in the classroom, and reflection on teaching and learning.
Participants reported an increase in confidence and felt more prepared to teach in many of the STEM-related topics covered during the program, including teaching about biomedical career options and understanding the differences between basic and clinical research. In addition, the course enrollees reported that "they reflected on their teaching and participated in online teacher communities of practice more often," APS researchers wrote.
Margaret Steiben, program manager for K-12 education programs at APS, will present "Professional development increases teacher knowledge, confidence and use of effective pedagogy" in a poster session on Thursday, June 21, at the Madison Concourse Hotel.