A Shift in Scientific Identities: How Teacher-Scientist Partnerships Can Impact Middle School Teachers’ Science Teaching and Instruction


Following the push to improve science literacy and implement science education programs in the 1970s, organizations such as the National Science Foundation (NSF) and American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have worked fervently to develop programs aimed at reforming science education and increasing science literacy among America’s students. The emergence of teacher-scientist partnerships in K-12 classrooms has proven influential in broadening teachers’ content knowledge, understanding of scientific inquiry, and increasing teachers’ confidence in their abilities to teach science. Unfortunately, research exploring how these partnerships impact teachers’ identities, in general, and teachers’ self-efficacy, pedagogical practices, and identities as scientists, more specifically, has remained limited.

An investigation of the impact that one teacher-scientist partnership had on a select group of Students Discover middle school teachers’ various teacher identities was designed to explore how teacher-scientist partnerships: (1) impact how teachers view their ability to teach science, and (2) shape teachers’ teaching practices. Findings from the study, shared in this report, are intended to inform district leaders, school administrators, and teachers about the unique possibilities of improving science teaching effectiveness in the classroom through the use of teacher-scientist partnerships.

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