Elementary Science Teacher Educators Learning Together: Catalyzing Change With Educative Curriculum Materials and Vignette Writing

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Asim, S., Davis, J., Kinskey, M., Lavender, H., Murray, J., Obery, A., Sherwood, C.-A., & Voss, S. (2023). Elementary Science Teacher Educators Learning Together: Catalyzing Change With Educative Curriculum Materials and Vignette Writing. Innovations in Science Teacher Education, 8(3). Retrieved from https://innovations.theaste.org/elementary-science-teacher-educators-learning-together-catalyzing-change-with-educative-curriculum-materials-and-vignette-writing/
by Sumreen Asim, Indiana University Southeast; Jeni Davis, Salisbury University; Melanie Kinskey, Sam Houston State University; Heather Lavender, University of Georgia; Jaclyn Murray, Augusta University; Amanda Obery, Central Washington University; Carrie-Anne Sherwood, Southern Connecticut State University; & Sarah Voss, Drake University


In this article, we describe a professional learning community (PLC) for science teacher educators that supported changes in pedagogy through educative curriculum materials and vignette writing. The PLC was convened as part of a grant-supported project to build preservice elementary teachers’ content knowledge for matter using educative curriculum materials. PLC members collaborated with one another over an academic year to learn about and discuss implementing curricular materials in their respective science teacher education courses. Due to the collaborative nature of the PLC, members were able to engage in sensemaking collectively around challenges of practice through vignette writing. The process of writing vignettes within the PLC allowed for productive reflection around content knowledge for matter and science teaching practices, ultimately, advancing preservice teachers’ learning about teaching elementary science.

Innovations Journal articles, beyond each issue's featured article, are included with ASTE membership. If your membership is current please login at the upper right.

Become a member or renew your membership


Abell, S. K. (1997). The professional development of science teacher educators: Is there a missing piece? Electronic Journal of Science Education, 1(4). https://ejrsme.icrsme.com/article/view/7567

Abell, S. K., Park Rogers, M. A., Hanuscin, D. L., Lee, M. H., & Gagnon, M. J. (2009). Preparing the next generation of science teacher educators: A model for developing PCK for teaching science teachers. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 20(1), 77–93. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-008-9115-6

Angelides, P., & Gibbs, P. (2006). Supporting the continued professional development of teachers through the use of vignettes. Teacher Education Quarterly, 33(4), 111–121.

Ball, D. L., Thames, M. H., & Phelps, G. (2008). Content knowledge for teaching: What makes it special? Journal of Teacher Education, 59(5), 389–407. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487108324554

Buchanan, L. B., Moody, A. K., Fox, K. R., Hargrove, T. Y., Roney, K., & Brophy, A. (2016, April 8–12). Professional learning communities as teacher educator professional development: Articulating the impact on pedagogy and student learning [Paper presentation]. Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Washington, DC. AERA Online Paper Repository.

Bullock, S. M. (2009). Constructing professional knowledge from teaching and learning experiences in a preservice teacher education course (Publication No. 762516527) [Doctoral dissertation, Queen’s University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global.

Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1999). Relationships of knowledge and practice: Teacher learning in communities. Review of Research in Education, 24, 249–305. https://doi.org/10.3102/0091732X024001249

Cooper, R., Loughran, J., & Berry, A. (2015). Science teachers’ PCK: Understanding sophisticated practice. In A. Berry, P. Friedrichsen, & J. Loughran (Eds.), Re-examining pedagogical content knowledge in science education (pp. 60–74). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315735665-7

Costa, A. L. & Kallick, B. (1993). Through the lens of a critical friend. Educational Leadership, 51(2), 49–51.

Curry, M. (2008). Critical friends groups: The possibilities and limitations embedded in teacher professional communities aimed at instructional improvement and school reform. Teachers College Record, 110(4), 733–774. https://doi.org/10.1177/016146810811000401

Darling-Hammond, L., Hyler, M. E., & Gardner, M. (with Espinoza, D.). (2017). Effective teacher professional development. Learning Policy Institute. https://doi.org/10.54300/122.311

Davis, E. A., & Krajcik, J. S. (2005). Designing educative curriculum materials to promote teacher learning. Educational Researcher, 34(3), 3–14. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X034003003

Desimone, L. M. (2009). Improving impact studies of teachers’ professional development: Toward better conceptualizations and measures. Educational Researcher, 38(3), 181–199. https://doi.org/10.3102/0013189X08331140

Dietz, C. M., & Davis, E. A. (2009). Preservice elementary teachers’ reflection on narrative images of inquiry. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 20(3), 219–243. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-009-9132-0

Dinkelman, T. (2003). Self-study in teacher education: A means and ends tool for promoting reflective teaching. Journal of Teacher Education, 54(1), 6–18. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487102238654

Dinkelman, T., Margolis, J., & Sikkenga, K. (2006). From teacher to teacher educator: Experiences, expectations, and expatriation. Studying Teacher Education, 2(1), 5–23. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425960600557447

Dogan, S., Pringle, R., & Mesa, J. (2016). The impacts of professional learning communities on science teachers’ knowledge, practice and student learning: A review. Professional Development in Education, 42(4), 569–588. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2015.1065899

Ellebæk, J. J. (2021). Primary science teachers’ narratives about significant colleagues in light of collective PCK. International Journal of Science Education, 43(10), 1667–1684. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500693.2021.1927235

Foord, K. A. & Haar, J. M. (2013). Professional learning communities: An implementation guide and toolkit. Routledge.

Garet, M. S., Porter, A. C., Desimone, L., Birman, B. F., & Suk Yoon, K. (2001). What makes professional development effective? Results from a national sample of teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 38(4), 915–945. https://doi.org/10.3102/00028312038004915

Grossman, P., Wineburg, S., & Woolworth, S. (2001). Toward a theory of teacher community. Teachers College Record, 103(6), 942–1012. https://doi.org/10.1177/016146810110300603

Guskey, T. R. (2009). Closing the knowledge gap on effective professional development. Educational Horizons, 87(4), 224–233.

Handa, V. C., & Tippins, D. J. (2012). Cultural memory banking in preservice science teacher education. Research in Science Education, 42(6), 1201–1217. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11165-011-9241-6

Hanuscin, D. L. (2013). Critical incidents in the development of pedagogical content knowledge for teaching the nature of science: A prospective elementary teacher’s journey. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24(6), 933–956. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-013-9341-4

Hanuscin, D., Donovan, D., Acevedo-Gutiérrez, A., Borda, E., DeBari, S., Melton, J., Le, T., Morrison, W., & Ronca, R. (2021). Supporting the professional development of science teacher educators through shadowing. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 19(Suppl. 1), S145–S165. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-021-10154-5

Horn, I. S. (2010). Teaching replays, teaching rehearsals, and re-visions of practice: Learning from colleagues in a mathematics teacher community. Teachers College Record, 112(1), 225–259. https://doi.org/10.1177/016146811011200109

Jeffries, C., & Maeder, D. W. (2005). Using vignettes to build and assess teacher understanding of instructional strategies. The Professional Educator, 27(1–2), 17–28. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ728478.pdf

Kuh, L. P. (2016). Teachers talking about teaching and school: Collaboration and reflective practice via critical friends groups. Teachers and Teaching, 22(3), 293–314. https://doi.org/10.1080/13540602.2015.1058589

Loughran, J. (2013). Developing a pedagogy of teacher education: Understanding teaching and learning about teaching. Routledge.

Lumpe, A. T. (2007). Research-based professional development: Teachers engaged in professional learning communities. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 18(1), 125–128. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10972-006-9018-3

MacPhail, A., Ulvik, M., Guberman, A., Czerniawski, G., Oolbekkink-Marchand, H., & Bain, Y. (2019). The professional development of higher education-based teacher educators: Needs and realities. Professional Development in Education, 45(5), 848–861. https://doi.org/10.1080/19415257.2018.1529610

Mikeska, J. N., Kurzum, C., Steinberg, J. H., & Xu, J. (2018). Assessing elementary teachers’ content knowledge for teaching science for the ETS® Educator Series: Pilot results (Research Report No. ETS RR-18-20). Educational Testing Service. https://doi.org/10.1002/ets2.12207

NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next generation science standards: For states, by states. National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/18290

Park Rogers, M., Berry, A., Krainer, K., & Even, R. (2021). Finding common ground: A synthesis of science and mathematics teacher educators’ experiences with professional growth. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 19(Suppl. 1), S167–S180. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-021-10188-9

Skilling, K., & Stylianides, G. J. (2020). Using vignettes in educational research: A framework for vignette construction. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 43(5), 541–556. https://doi.org/10.1080/1743727X.2019.1704243

Smith, P. S., & Plumley, C. L. (2016). A review of the research literature on teaching about the small particle model of matter to elementary students. Horizon Research. https://www.horizon-research.com/spmlitreview

Stenhouse, L. (1981). What counts as research? British Journal of Educational Studies, 29(2), 103–114. https://doi.org/10.1080/00071005.1981.9973589

Van Lare, M. D., & Brazer, S. D. (2013). Analyzing learning in professional learning communities: A conceptual framework. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 12(4), 374–396. https://doi.org/10.1080/15700763.2013.860463

Vea, T. (2020). The learning of emotion in/as sociocultural practice: The case of animal rights activism. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 29(3), 311–346. https://doi.org/10.1080/10508406.2020.1748036

Weinberg, A. E., Balgopal, M. M., & Sample McMeeking, L. B. (2021). Professional growth and identity development of STEM teacher educators in a community of practice. International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education, 19(Suppl. 1), S99–S120. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10763-020-10148-9

Wenger, E., McDermott, R., & Snyder, W. M. (2002). Cultivating communities of practice: A guide to managing knowledge. Harvard Business School Press.

Williams, J., Ritter, J., & Bullock, S. M. (2012). Understanding the complexity of becoming a teacher educator: Experience, belonging, and practice within a professional learning community. Studying Teacher Education, 8(3), 245–260. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425964.2012.719130

Wilson, S. M. (2006). Finding a canon and core: Meditations on the preparation of teacher educator-researchers. Journal of Teacher Education, 57(3), 315–325. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022487105285895

Wood, D., & Borg, T. (2010). The rocky road: The journey from classroom teacher to teacher educator. Studying Teacher Education, 6(1), 17–28. https://doi.org/10.1080/17425961003668914