Date of Award

Spring 1993

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Betsy Ann Balzano

Second Advisor

Robert Ribble

Third Advisor

Patricia E. Baker

Abstract

Despite the importance of science in today’s technological society, the subject remains undertaught at the elementary school level, with teachers either being uncomfortable in teaching or lacking the materials need for an activity-based educational approach. The Xerox Corporation has designed a consultant program which pairs its scientists with elementary school teachers in the Rochester City School District. Xerox employees provide teaching sessions which include materials and activities which would not otherwise be possible with the District’s resources. After each lesson, employees and teachers discuss the lesson and provide suggestions for the curriculum moving forward. The purpose of this study is to determine whether teachers in the Xerox Science Consultant Program perceive elementary science differently from teachers who do not participate and whether the program is effective. Recorded interviews with participating and non-participating teachers were analyzed to determine perceived effectiveness. The author found that teachers who participated in the consultant program were more likely to see science as segmented subject areas to be taught while non-participant teachers viewed science more as an opportunity to learn and experience the methodology of science. Participant teachers were also more likely to emphasize the curriculum whereas non-participants showed a greater interest in teaching subject areas that the students showed interest in. The author concludes that while the program helps teachers by providing materials for classroom instruction, it limits instruction by focusing more on subject area content than on teaching the scientific method and encouraging scientific thinking.

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