Primary Connections: Stage 3: Interim research and evaluation report No. 7: Trial teachers’ activities and perceptions at the end of term 1, 2006
Australian Academy of Science
Place of Publication
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Teachers’ practice is strongly influenced by their beliefs about practice (Keys, 2003; Peers, 2001) and self-efficacy (Riggs & Enocks, 1990) and confidence (Yates & Goodrum, 1990), and their pedagogical content knowledge (Appleton, 1995). To improve practice teachers need the support of quality professional learning and curriculum resources (Goodrum, Hackling & Rennie, 2001). Research with professional learning programs at secondary and primary schools (Goodrum, Hackling & Trotter, 2003; Goodrum, Hackling & Sheffield, 2003; Hackling & Prain, 2005; Lewthwaite, 2006; Peers, Diezmann & Watters, 2003) indicates that the provision of professional learning workshops and exemplary curriculum resources, successful pedagogical experiences, opportunities for collegial interaction and reflection on practice, support of the principal and strong leadership by leader teachers/co-coordinators are required for successful implementations of new initiatives. The growth and effectiveness of teacher leaders depends on their personal attributes (e.g., motivation, self-efficacy, willingness to modify practice and beliefs (Peers, Diezmann & Watters, 2003)) microsystem factors such as collegial and external supports, mesosystem factors such as the priority placed on the subject by their school and the schools openness to change, exosystemfactors such as parent and community expectations, and macrosystem factors such as state and national curriculum agendas (Bronfenbrenner, 1989; Lewthwaite, 2006). Research into the perceptions of trial teachers regarding the implementation of Primary Connections in their classrooms and more broadly in their schools is required to understand how trial teachers and their schools can be further supported to ensure a successful implementation. By this stage of the trial, original trial teachers had implemented one trial unit in each of term 1, 2005 and term 3, 2005. The workshop was to prepare them to implement a third trial unit in term 2, 2006. They had also written and taught their own unit in term 2, 2005 using a unit planer to scaffold the Primary Connections approach. The purpose of this study was to elicit from trial teachers information about their roles within the school, teaching activities, rating of their practice against the components of the pedagogical principles, professional learning needs, and science co-ordination at their schools.