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 teaching? How does reflection of practice change for students involved in coteaching? 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 coteaching. 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.