Primary Connections: Stage 3: Interim research and evaluation report No. 9: University science educators’ workshop, February 2007
Australian Academy of Science
Place of Publication
Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
The 64 participants who attended the workshop were drawn from all 36 universities that offer pre-service teacher education programmes ensuring that Primary Connections is connected to all pre-service teacher education courses in Australia. The science educators believed that quality professional learning needs to be relevant to the teachers’ needs, delivered by a knowledgeable and credible facilitator in a stimulating and engaging manner, based on practical and interactive learning tasks which stimulate collaboration, sharing and reflection, based on sound theory and be ongoing. At the end of the workshop the science educators had high self-efficacy on seven of nine aspects of facilitation; they had lower self-efficacy on aspects of facilitation requiring an understanding of early childhood teaching and literacy teaching. Eighty per cent of the science educators had self-efficacy scale scores that were greater than 35/45 (high self-efficacy) and none had a score lower than 25 (low self-efficacy). Science educators that had completed a two-day workshop had levels of self-efficacy similar to those of professional learning facilitators (PLFs) who had completed five days of facilitation training. The science educators had high levels of confidence with facilitating workshops related to seven aspects of Primary Connections. All mean confidence scores were greater than 4/5 and were similar to PLFs who had completed five days of facilitator training. When asked about the extent to which the workshop outcomes had been achieved, no less than 80% of participants rated five of seven outcomes in the two highest of five response categories. Most positive responses were for understanding the teaching and learning model and curriculum resources and for understanding the professional learning model and resources. More than 80% of the science educators reported that they were very well or well prepared for facilitating Primary Connections workshops with both pre- and in-service teachers. The science educators found the opportunity for networking and sessions on the theoretical overview of the programme and on research the most helpful. The science educators suggested that the workshop could be improved by being less rushed and having more input from trial teachers. The most common support needs related to regular updates on resources, ongoing contact with other science educators and a workshop set of units. All of the science educators rated the professional learning resources as excellent or good, and 80% could not identify any need for change. When asked if there is a need to develop any additional resources for pre-service teacher education a majority said ‘no’. Of the suggestions for additional resources, all were made by less than five people, i.e., there was no consensus about what additional resources should be produced. When given the opportunity to provide any other comments, responses where overwhelmingly positive with praise for the workshop, presenters, resources, networking, accommodation and meals.