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The Impacts of CESIP

THE impacts of CESIP on the professional development of participants were investigated. Six high school Science teachers attending the CESIP for two years or more identified common benefits including improvement in their ability to implement more organized systems in the classroom, enhance learning through cooperative learning, and improve strategies for individual learning. Other benefits were also identified based on individual perspective. The Impacts of CESIP on the Professional Development of High School Teachers

Introduction Teachers play a vital role in the learning and development of their students. In the classroom, they serve as the main instruments of learning, and the most immediate access to knowledge. Without them, books, computer programs and other learning devices will be insufficient as these devices can neither process students’ insights nor assess learning and progress the way teachers do. A classroom without a teacher is thus incomplete and inefficient.

Ideally, the teacher should serve as what Vygotsky (1978) calls, the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) who possesses a wider scope of the subject matter. As teachers construct and design lessons and materials for students, they should be well equipped with efficient skills to monitor student progress and needs, and to guide students to develop appropriate skills using the right approach. The training they received in the undergraduate level is not enough to meet the demands of time and apply effective learning trends.

In this view, professional development is necessary. This paper discusses the impacts of professional development for high school teachers in English and Science. In particular, it investigates individual cases of teachers undergoing the Communication in English and Science Inquiry Project (CESIP) professional development which the National Center for Teacher Education provides. Implementing professional development programs is one key to success in improving the present status of education.

O’Connell (2009) claims that as we adopt the needs of a multicultural classroom, several issues arise, including learning difficulty and language proficiency. Given these challenges, it is necessary for teachers to undergo continuing professional development to keep abreast with trends in teaching, measurement, research, and other aspects of the teaching profession. Professional Development: Background and Significance Corcoran (1995) reports that most professional development programs for teachers in the 90s involved attending to seminars and lectures despite irrelevance to their field or curriculum.

The earlier practice was to have the principal order an early dismissal of classes then have all the teachers attend a seminar, workshop, or a talk on a hot topic to be delivered by a well-informed speaker. These efforts were geared towards professional development yet were sometimes irrelevant to the needs of some teaching professionals. For instance, gathering all teachers into one seminar despite differences in their field of expertise is a sign that such efforts are inconsiderate of teachers’ level of knowledge and experience.

In this regard, attendance sometimes seemed to be the motivating factor to these professional development programs. In the current practice, professional development programs have adopted important changes, making them more relevant to the practice. Unlike before when school administrators usually took initiatives and decided on the programs for teachers, several teacher organizations have taken initiatives to improve professional development for teachers. With organizations initiating programs for teacher development, changes have finally taken place.

These include providing relevant further learning and experience, giving financial support or incentives, and helping teachers establish network or collaborate with other professionals in the field. Many workshops and seminars are conducted outside the school, allowing teachers with similar expertise and experience to receive further professional development based on their needs. Focused on students’ benefits, professional development programs for teachers may be evaluated based on student achievement. This is to say that professional development is directly related to students’ progress.

The American Educational Research Education (2005) reports its observation that students’ benefits vary according to changes in professional development programs. In particular, since the 60s focused on developing good classroom and behavior management skills, such resulted in manageable classroom behavior but “moderate positive effects on students’ decoding and arithmetic skills” (Ibid. , 1). Later, as professional programs provided in-depth training on teaching specific subject matter, students were found to display higher academic learning.

In this regard, professional development programs must be in line with curriculum requirements, materials, and assessment measures. This means targeting needs based on specific levels, and if possible, on individual levels. Watts, Baker, Semken & Lang report the need of Science high school teachers in Arizona to receive further knowledge on energy systems lessons. In response, the investigators provided them a 23-hour professional development program, and learned that students’ knowledge increased as teachers received training in relation to their field.

Considering this, it is significant to discover other impacts of continuing professional development for teachers. Implementing CESIP for the Professional Development of Science Teachers Among organizations that invest efforts in professional development for teachers is the National Center for Teacher Education, a private organization located in Arizona, which coordinates with pre-K-12 and four-year institutions, school districts, community leaders, and education officials in order to develop programs that support community colleges.

At present, the organization hosts professional development programs for both teachers and students. These programs include the CESIP, a five-year program intended to widen content knowledge of teachers in Science, and improve their capacity to teach students to learn science concepts, organize ideas using science notebooks, and increase ability for structured communication (National Center for Teacher Education, 2010). Impacts of CESIP Six teachers were interviewed to determine the individual impacts of CESIP on their professional practice. These teachers with varied age and experience came from different high schools in Arizona.

With a common motive of improving the quality of education in their field, the participants applied for the CESIP program. For the purpose of this study, they provided insights on the progress or improvements they observed in their own classrooms. Composed of five female teachers and one male teacher, the participants shared their insights during the interview. Jan O’Malley, one of the participants, noted three things she has employed in the classroom based on the CESIP program. These things have helped her improve student learning and performance. First is implementing the use of advance organizers.

Advance organizers help students focus on their study, and prepare for future lessons. They likewise help O’Malley to design lessons ahead of time, giving way to a more carefully designed lesson and set of activities. Second is implementing protocols. Although this is not a new idea, implementing protocols in the classroom is still related to organization. Protocols are necessary to manage behavior and avoid disruption of learning. Third, O’Malley also mentions explanation as an important aspect of teaching. Giving lucid explanations to students helps them learn more easily.

To allow students to formulate their own explanation of learned concepts, O’Malley incorporates writing activities, thus promoting integration of English into the Science lesson. According to Jennifer Smith, the CESIP has taught her to prioritize three important things: taking time for learning, talking about learning, and targeting what was missed. Devoting enough time for each of the said activities reflects Smith’s ability for organization. Moreover, her insights also promote proper scaffolding and transition from one phase of the lesson to another.

The male respondent, Gary Feldman, noted some strategies he has employed in the classroom. These strategies include reasoning, questioning, and using language for instruction. In sum, these strategies reflect student-centered instruction. Student-centeredness allows the teacher to monitor student progress. A student-centered instruction allows the students to conduct discussions, make inquiries, and perform hands-on exercises for effective learning. Although this term is not new, student-centeredness has been proven effective for it allows maximum participation of students in the learning process.

Another participant named Michele Stanley, a Biology teacher, emphasizes student responsibility, organization through the use of notebooks, and student-directed learning strategies such as brainstorming and writing reflections. She also adds collaboration or interaction with other teachers in the field in order to come up with effective lessons. Brandy Walker identifies three things she associates with CESIP. These are education, notebooks, and goals. For her, attending CESIP promotes education for both the teachers and the students. In addition, CESIP requires the use of notebooks to keep one organized.

Third, CESIP means setting up goals and targeting them. Discussion and Conclusion Notably, the five female participants agreed on organization as one of the impacts of CESIP on their professional development as teachers. Attending CESIP has taught them to be more organized in their lessons and to teach students to be highly organized by using notebooks. The participants specifically identified notebooks as the main tool used in teaching and organizing activities for students. Notebooks are an important tool in the classroom for they can be used to contain reflections and monitor language ability in explaining science concepts.

Another notable impact of CESIP based on teacher responses is the improvement of classroom strategies. Four out of six respondents specified the importance of implementing cooperative learning in the classroom, while one mentioned student-centered instruction. Implementing cooperative learning allows students to work independently and interact with others at the same time. Cooperative learning adheres closely to the CESIP goal of promoting language proficiency as it allows students to interact with one another in order to learn.

In addition, the respondents also cited the importance of integrating English into the Science subject. Learning Science will not be complete without engaging in activities that require explanation of concepts and individual reflection. In this view, Science teachers should pay particular attention to the students’ ability to use the language to discuss their thoughts and reflect on the learning they get out of each lesson. Notably, the progress that the six participants were making relate closely to the goals of the program. However, they do not present innovation in the field of teaching.

For instance, emphasizing organization is part of classroom management while cooperative learning is already a well-known teaching strategy. Nevertheless, integrating English into Science is a relatively new idea, and may be a subject for further investigation. To add, the impacts of CESIP as a program for professional development should be determined not only based on teacher responses. As illustrated in this study, teacher responses to CESIP were all positive, thus neglecting room for improvement in the professional development program.

Therefore, to generate a more credible finding, future studies regarding the impact of CESIP should include improvement of student performance and attitude of students regarding study. References Corcoran, T. (1995). Professional development today. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://www2. ed. gov/pubs/CPRE/t61/t61c. html National Center for Teacher Education. (2010). CISIP for middle and high schools. Retrieved July 10, 2010, from http://www. maricopa. edu/academic/teachered/CISIP. html O’Connell, M. (2010). The future of education in the United States.

(Unpublished Thesis, Western Governor’s University, 2010). Utah. The American Educational Research Education. (2005). Teaching teachers: professional development to improve student achievement. Research Points, 3(1), pp. 1-4. Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind and society: The development of higher mental processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Watts, N. , Baker, D. , Semken, S. & Lang, M. (n. d. ). Improving high school teachers’ content knowledge of energy in systems through research-based professional development. Retrieved July 9, 2010, from http://semken. asu. edu/pubs/buenowatts10_cisipenergy. pdf

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