Exploring biology teachers’ professional knowledge
Anat Yarden, PhD
Postdocs and students
Dr. Ronit Rozenszajn, Postdoctoral Fellow
The Life Sciences group has characterized biology teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) and its possible expansion in the course of the Rothschild-Weizmann Program for Excellence in Science Education. Retention of major parts of the expanded PCK a year after termination of the program suggests that the program provides a powerful means for PCK expansion. Group members also found that biology teachers’ content knowledge (CK) is by and large distinct from their PCK. Thus, the relationships between biology teachers’ CK and PCK should be continuously strengthened, as one cannot assume that increasing CK will automatically lead to an improvement in biology teachers’ PCK. Interestingly, a similar analysis carried out with teachers who were participating in the other paths of the Rothschild-Weizmann Program revealed that, similar to the biology teachers, most of the chemistry and physics teachers do not integrate the new subject matter CK acquired during the program into their practice, while the mathematics teachers do connect CK with PCK. In other words, although the mathematics teachers do not teach high mathematics contents in class, their PCK can be meaningfully expanded by studying high-level mathematics contents. The group is currently investigating the complex relations between CK and PCK among biology and mathematics teachers.
- Rozenszajn, R., and Yarden, A. Expansion of biology teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) during a long-term professional development program, Res. in Sci. Educ. (First published online: August 23, 2013).
- Rozenszajn, R., and Yarden, A. (2011). Conceptualization of in-service biology teachers’ pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) during a long term professional development program. In A. Yarden, & G.S. Carvalho (Eds.), Authenticity in Biology Education: Benefits and Challenges, A selection of papers presented at the 8th Conference of European Researchers in Didactics of Biology, Braga, Portugal, pp. 79-90.
- Rozenszajn, R., and Yarden, A. (2013). Characterizing the tacit relationships between biology teachers’ content knowledge (CK) and pedagogical content knowledge (PCK). In D. Krueger, & M. Ekborg (Eds.), A selection of papers presented at the 9th Conference of European Researchers in Didactics of Biology, Berlin, Germany, Accepted for publication.