Paper No. 152-1
Presentation Time: 1:15 PM
DESIGN AND EVALUATION OF RESEARCH EXPERIENCES IN A MASTER OF ARTS OF TEACHING EARTH SCIENCE PROGRAM
The Master of Arts of Teaching (MAT) program in Earth Science at Brooklyn College provides in-service teachers and non-Earth science degree holders with a relatively rapid means to attain certification in Earth Science, thereby addressing the immediate need for qualified teachers in New York City. By necessity, this program has stressed mastery of state-defined content, and has lacked the field-intensive, and inquiry-rich experiences of our 4-year undergraduate program for Earth Science teachers. To advance mastery of geoscience inquiry and content application, Brooklyn College developed a 3-course sequence (immersion, proposal development, independent research) to provide research experiences for high-performing teachers in our MAT program. Pre-immersion focus groups and questionnaires, post-immersion focus groups, journal entries, and a final survey were used to evaluate the program with three cohorts. Key positive outcomes were an increased understanding of the nature of geoscience research, increased confidence in teaching science, and gaining greater credibility with their students who then perceived them as “real” scientists. Improvement in these areas was greatest for experienced teachers (greater than 5 years), and they were best able to transfer effectively their research experiences to the classroom. The large time commitment was the foremost concern, and so multi-teacher, team-based research is our preferred approach, rather than individual research projects. Future development will focus on our teachers’ desire to better maintain a community of practice for RET alumni.