As science teacher educators at a comprehensive university that is recognized as the state’s premier teaching institution of higher education for educators in grades K-12, we are frequently asked by local school districts to provide innovative professional development programming for inservice science teachers. The inservice science teachers who we collaborate with and provide professional development for range from teachers who are exceptional in science teaching, teachers who enter the profession with provisional licenses, teachers who have little or no background in science, teachers who teach science out-of-field, teachers who have little or no scientific research experiences, teachers who are discontented with their teaching practices, teachers who teach in high poverty schools, and teachers who want to know more about the NGSS. For us, innovative professional development has always clearly been needed to provide support for inservice science teachers, especially in our current dynamic educational environment.
However, faculty members at colleges and universities are not the only individuals who engage in this important aspect of our profession. The ASTE’s position statement on Professional Knowledge Standards for Science Teacher Educators (https://theaste.org/about/aste-position-statement-on-professional-knowledge-standards-for-science-teacher-educators/) acknowledges that there are many personnel from schools and personnel from agencies who also provide for the professional development of science teachers. The ASTE also recognizes that science teacher educators should possess expertise in the development of professional development programs that are informed by the research literature, and that science teacher professional development should be guided by the theoretical and practical knowledge of individual and organizational change processes.
Accordingly, the Innovations journal is continuously in need of fresh new perspectives on innovative science teacher professional development. The English Oxford Living Dictionaries defines professional development as the development of competence or expertise in one’s profession; and the process of acquiring the skills needed to improve performance in a job (professional development, n.d.). However, what this definition does not provide is a description of how innovative professional development is facilitated. Although science teacher professional development programs are more often reported in terms of their efficacy in research journals, the Innovations journal provides a place for science teacher educators to share detailed description of how their professional development programming is conducted. Innovative science teacher professional development activities are essential for science teacher educators and classroom teachers, as both attempt to improve science teaching and learning. Thus, we encourage science teacher educators, scientists, science coordinators and supervisors, and informal science educators who prepare and provide professional development for teachers of science at all grade levels to share their innovative ideas with our international science education community through the Innovations journal.
Innovations is the official peer-reviewed online practitioner journal of the ASTE that serves as a forum for disseminating effective instructional practices that are innovative and inspirational. So, take some time right now to reflect back on the innovative aspects of your professional development programs for science teachers. Do you have an innovative idea to share with your colleagues? Consider sharing your ideas and lessons learned with colleagues by submitting a manuscript describing your outstanding work with preservice and inservice science teachers!
Also, be sure to check out our website to learn more about publishing in Innovations in Science Teacher Education by using the following link: http://innovations.theaste.org. Please be sure to review the instructions for authors section prior to submitting to ensure that your manuscript adheres to format guidelines and addresses each criterion. We look forward to receiving your manuscripts and want to thank everyone who is, and will be, participating in the submission and review of manuscripts. We hope that you have an amazing 2018!