A three-year Continuous Professional Research program is currently being conducted between the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science (Principal investigators : Professor Bat-Sheva Eylon and myself) and the Department of Science Education, Kings College, London. The main goal of this collaboration is to design an effective evidence-based CPD model for key aspects of science teaching and learning. The CPD program is being developed through collaborative research with classroom science teachers. It focuses on a set of characteristics and protocols that individuals can use to achieve evidence-based accomplished practice in science teaching. This three-year project (now in its second year) investigates the resulting professional development and practice of teachers. More specifically, the objectives of this program are to:
Identify the specific needs and difficulties of science teachers and the factors that contribute to successful CPD based on the six science teaching areas.
Produce an enhanced CPD model.
Design high-quality materials for the professional development of science teachers.
Design associated-quality assurance procedures to enable physical science teachers to use the enhanced CPD model effectively.
Develop and implement guidelines and criteria for the preparation of a teaching portfolio framework that teachers can use to demonstrate accomplished practice in the various domains.
The initiatives of the project at the Weizmann Institute of Science are conducted as part of the activities of the three national teachers' centers located in the Department of Science Teaching. Regarding the chemistry teachers, the topic for which a CPD program was developed is "Inquiry in the High School Chemistry Laboratory". Preliminary reports on this collaborative project were conducted in the past year in two symposia. The first one, focusing on learning science by inquiry, was organized by Hofstein & Watson (2004) in the NARST meeting in Vancouver; the second one was organized by Duschl (2004) at the AERA meeting in San Diego in which all the partners participated. More recently a symposium was conducted in ESERA conference in Barcelona (Harrison, Eylon & Hofstein, 2005).