Current Event #2

Current Event #2
Theory and Research in Science Teaching
SED 625
Carole Smith
The article I read and reviewed was “Coteaching in a Secondary
Science Methods Course: Learning Through a Coteaching Model that
Supports Early Teacher Practice”, published in the Journal of Science
Teacher Education, 2004. The study researches the following questions:
 What practical knowledge learned in praxis is most salient from
 How does reflection of practice change for students involved in
 How can learning to teach through coteaching foster a learning
community for ongoing professional development?
This article takes a very thorough look at the coteaching program being
run at Auburn University, Alabama with student teachers at local middle
and high schools. In this program, students are not “student teachers”, as
is done here at CSUN. Instead of student teachers observing master
teachers during their credential classes and then doing student teaching
with a lead teacher, preservice teachers spend time in a graduated
environment, beginning first by being peripheral participants, i.e.
observing and assisting their lead teacher, then moving onto coteaching
with the master teacher. Students and coteachers meet before and after
lessons, to ensure understanding of lessons before they are taught and
then reviewing the success of the lesson and its teaching. Although this
may sound very similar to the program at CSUN, it is very different.
The coteaching program is considerably more structured and looks at
previous research on student teaching to implement a greater success.
I found this article to be very helpful. It was informative, direct, and
well written. Furthermore, in the careful analysis of the article, it was
made repeatedly evident that careful research went into it. The model
for the research was a cooperative inquiry method, and data from
multiple semesters was used. The study also looks at its own inherent
limitations and constraints. Previous research showed that beginning
teachers experience “culture shock”, because the reality of being a
classroom teacher does not match their preconceived beliefs. Thus, a
benefit in coteaching is the support from experienced teachers and
having a teacher partner. Their research showed that using individual
teacher assets and ample supports from partners that the transition into
the classroom can be eased with peripheral participations and
The study is ongoing, as coresearchers share field notes, participating
students post via electronic bulletins, and students and coteachers share
data. The researchers search for common themes such as strengths,
limitations, and problems. I found all these to be strengths in the articles
research: their was a large body of evidence being studied, data was
being collected over a period of several semesters, data was being
collected by different points of view (student teachers, lead teachers,
university researchers) and then triangulated to look for commonalities.
In addition, I was impressed by the study’s awareness of its limitations
and constraints as well as ways of handling them. So to answer the
question: was it good research – yes. I did however, have felt that the
study was lacking in that there was no empirical data as to the success of
the program. For example, have retention rates in teachers that have
gone through this program improved? Are the teachers that have gone
through the program “better teachers” as reviewed by master teachers,
student test scores, or some other independent measure of their
effectiveness? Are the teachers that go through this program better
prepared? These are the types of questions that I would have liked to see
the research address. Another area that I found of concern was that
much of the article was devoted to how the program is implemented and
operates, rather than what its research has found. Overall, I found the
research and the article extremely well done, with a large (and
expanding) study group being thoughtfully and professionally evaluated.
It provided great “food for thought” as to possible changes in the current
training of teachers. Many struggles known to be faced by new teachers
were addressed by the research and solutions found. It certainly is a
program that I would have benefited from in my beginning years of
teacher training.