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A study on professional development toward science centers: change in science teachers’ awareness about science centers and ways of conducting science center visits

Tahancalio, Semr
The main aim of the current study was to reveal how the professional development (PD) program developed by “BİLMER Project: A Teacher and Explainer Professional Development Model to Increase the Effectiveness of Science Centers (SCs) in Science and Society Communication and Science Education” influences science teachers’ awareness about SCs and their way of conducting a SC visit. Science teachers’ way of conducting SC visit was examined in two dimensions: (1) changes in their strategies for conducting SC visit through the lenses of the researcher and (2) characteristics of PD program influencing their instructional planning regarding SC visit through the lenses of the science teachers. The design of this study was case study. Participants were selected purposefully through typical sampling approach. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews, observations and instructional plan. Both descriptive and content analysis were used to analyze the collected data. The results of the study revealed that introduction of SCs both through explainers’ presentations and field trips to some of them, providing communication with explainers and presenting tabletop versions of some of exhibits during the PD program contributed to teachers’ awareness about SCs and their resources. Moreover, it was found that teachers’ strategies for conducting SC visit has diversified in an extended manner after participating in the PD program. The results also suggested that there were seven different characteristics of the PD program influencing teachers’ instructional planning regarding SC visit, which were curriculum connection, exchange of ideas, instructional plan, teaching techniques and methods, tabletop exhibits and emphasis on communication.