Content knowledge professional development for science teachers
The National Mentoring for Science and Mathematics Teachers' project aims to improve the quality of science and mathematics teaching in Australia. It does this through workshops to develop the pedagogical and content knowledge and classroom practice of teachers, while also providing mentoring and online support. The Australia-wide program focuses on early-career teachers or those teaching outside their subject specialty – a common occurrence in Australian schools.
The project is a collaboration between the ANU’s Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science, the University of Canberra, Ian Potter Foundation Technology Leaning Centre – Questacon, the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) and the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT).
CPAS’s role in the project is to provide practical workshops that address problem areas and misconceptions in science learning, with a focus on improving teachers’ understanding and content knowledge so in turn this can be passed on to students. CPAS’s innovative use of practical demonstrations and everyday materials to teach science also provides a range of accessible ideas for teachers to use in the classroom. Workshops have been delivered face-to-face during the Intensive Phase of the project, with ongoing online workshops. CPAS are also conducting research related to the program’s impact, in particular its effects on teacher self-efficacy.