• Business as Usual: Reflections on Life as Mothers and Educators during a Pandemic

      Friedrich, Jami; Perrotta, Katherine; Evans, Amberley; Curl, Jennifer (2021)
      The COVID-19 pandemic marks a major turning point in contemporary history. Teachers and those in the education field face unique challenges regarding the balance of family and work obligations, coping with the stress of preventing infection, and helping students understand the multitude of social and political events that are occurring simultaneously with the pandemic. It is important to record our lived experiences to provide insight into how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the history of education in the United States. This poster presents the findings of self-study reflections of four women in four different stages of their personal life and careers in education. Our major findings show that each woman experienced various pressures concerning parenting, balancing family and professional obligations, and navigating the world of academia. We no longer feel like we can separate being a mother and an educator. Instead, we all feel the pressure to be both the best mother and best educator at all times simultaneously because whether in a pandemic or not, life must go on-business as usual. We hope that this research leads to future studies with regard to the impact and changes the COVID-19 pandemic will have on the teachers and teaching in K-16 settings.
    • Head Above Water: A Study of K-12 Teachers' Perspectives on Emergency Remote Learning during the COVID-19 Pandemic

      Friedrich, Jami; Perrotta, Katherine (2021)
      In March of 2020, school districts across the country shifted to emergency remote teaching in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, school districts that closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year are indefinitely continuing online instruction or incorporating a hybrid model for the 2020-2021 school year. Although scholarship exists with regard to the impact of school closures due to unexpected events such as natural, there is a need to understand how this pandemic has posed specific challenges and benefits for teachers. The purpose of this research is to examine K-12 teachers' perspectives about their experiences transitioning to emergency remote teaching as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The major findings show that teachers experienced greater flexibility with regard to content and elimination of state exams. However, teachers expressed that they faced significant challenges with regard to promoting student engagement, maintaining communication, and ensuring students had access to technology and tools for remote learning.
    • Implementing Science and Engineering practices in K-12 classrooms : Learnings from a STEM course

      Sharma, Meenakshi (2021)
      The contemporary science education framework (NRC, 2012) advocates for the use of science and engineering practices(S&E) in classrooms because these practices represent an authentic view of inquiry or the “doing” of STEM in K-12 classroom. The current study examines teachers’ understanding and use of such S&E practices within a STEM endorsement course. Research participants were teachers who were enrolled in all courses offered as part of the endorsement. As a requirement for the endorsement, each teacher planned and enacted minimum three lessons in their respective classrooms that showcased their use of S&E practices in a real classroom setting. Primary data for this qualitative study includes video recordings of teachers’ classroom instruction. In addition, we use lesson artifacts, teachers’ written reflections on their teaching enactments, and recordings of feedback meetings with the course instructor (primary presenter) as secondary data. Initial analysis shows that implementation of S&E practices helped teachers to create a rigorous learning discourse in their classrooms. Teachers shared various accounts of active student participation as an outcome of using S&E practices during feedback interviews and written reflections. Teachers revealed varying extent of success in enacting these practices in their classrooms. Research Findings have implications for preparing preservice and in-service teachers to effectively implement S&E practices in the classrooms.
    • Understanding Teachers-Researcher Collaboration: Designing a Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Aligned Curriculum

      Jenkins, Tynetta; Hochuli, Caitlin; Sharma, Meenakshi (2021)
      National curriculum framework for science education (NRC, 2012) makes various recommendations for increasing collaborations among various stakeholders to facilitate the implementation of NGSS. This ongoing study presents a case that exemplifies such a collaboration between two certified teachers (co-authors) and a science education researcher (primary author). The partnership was initiated for designing a K-8 STEM curriculum focused on 3D learning (core ideas, science & engineering practices and crosscutting concepts). This is a qualitative study that uses data from regular curriculum development meetings that involve planning, design, and feedback regarding the STEM curriculum. Teachers and researcher constantly reflect on their role, contributions, and biases during these meetings and by keeping individual written reflective journals to deeply understand the nature of the existing collaboration. The goal of the study is to understand the strengths, dilemmas, and challenges of this collaboration. Most importantly as participants, we strive to understand how we develop a shared vision, how the researcher recognizes teacher voice and how teachers develop a deeper understanding of the NGSS in the process. Initial findings reveal that this partnership is a dynamic process that involves constant negotiations and compels us to revisit and rethink our current roles, values and priorities as we transition to being joint curriculum developers. We are examining changes in teachers� understanding of NGSS as an outcome of this partnership. Also, researcher�s recognition of the school contexts and students� needs as seen through the eyes of teachers will also be examined. Such collaborations are being highly advocated by the NRC (2012) committee. Our research finding can provide useful insights and strategies to build productive learning communities among teachers and researchers to support the goals of K-12 science education. National Research Council. (2012). A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. National Academies Press.